Not only is he the best player and leader of the team, but he’s also the center of everything they do on the floor. It’s easy to look at the team’s recent fights and point out the absence of the all-star center.
But it’s also important to know that he’s not the only starter missing. Josh Okogie’s absence has also hurt the team’s performance. Minnesota has not had the starting wing since going down with a strained Achilles tendon in the first half of the Lakers loss on December 27.
Okogie is the best and most versatile defender of the wolves. That’s not a piece this squad could afford to lose.
“We miss him on the defensive, but we miss his spirit. His spirit really helps us, ”said Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders. “That Utah win between him and Karl, these two guys, they set the group apart. They are our longest-serving people and we miss them. We miss Josh, but mostly on the defensive. We know he’s a very talented single defender, but he’s also a defensive leader and we miss that. ”
Okogie was practicing on the ground ahead of Minnesota’s game against Denver on Sunday. Saunders said this is a “good step” towards recovery. Saunders said Okogie still needs to “exceed certain thresholds” before he can return to the game, for example to practice in a group.
Maybe that could come on Monday?
“There are possibilities,” Saunders said, “and the fact that he’s cutting out there and moving is a good sign as we move forward.”
The team originally announced that Towns’ dislocated wrist would be evaluated weekly. The violation of the cities was diagnosed last Sunday, which would suggest an assessment will be made soon.
“I know we are about a week from where we figured all this out, but I don’t have an exact date when that assessment would be made,” Saunders said. “However, it would be early this week to stick with this weekly update.”
Jaylen Nowell has yet to play this regular season as he is working his way back from a calf injury. Saunders said the sophomore security guard, who was impressed the preseason, cut more on Saturday and “did a number of things through other practices so he’s coming with” too.
Sunday was the first home game of the season in which the Timberwolves had a “family camera” right in front of the pitch while warming up before the game at the Target Center. The 70-inch screen allowed players and coaches to interact with family members.