MINNEAPOLIS -- Jake Layman didn’t think much of his injury when it was initially diagnosed back in mid-November.
A hyperextended toe? Surely that can’t be too big of a deal. Wrong. Essentially turf toe, the injury is incredibly painful for basketball players who are constantly stopping, starting and cutting on the hardwood.
“The injury he has, it’s a painful one,” Minnesota Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders said.
The injury has caused Layman to miss two months and counting. That the toe was going to keep Layman out for so long was something the wing had to come to grips with early in his recovery process. The Timberwolves training staff explained the severity of the injury and how slow the process would be.
“This is my first time going through anything like this,” Layman said. “(I’m) just listening to everything they’re telling me to do and trusting that process.”
At first, Layman couldn’t do much of anything as he waited for the ligaments in the toe to heal. He’s still in a walking boot during most of his days but is finally able to shed it to get in light drill work at the beginning of practice.
“I’ve been waiting for that day,” Layman said. “It was great to finally do more things, and I think each week from here on out I’ll be progressing and doing more. It’s exciting.”
The light, it appears, is finally visible at the end of the tunnel.
“Almost,” Layman said.
The Timberwolves’ opponent on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Target Center: Indiana.
The Timberwolves’ opponent on the road Friday: Indiana.
This is the second time this season Minnesota has had a home-and-home series in back-to-back games against the same opponent. It previously split such a series against Utah. Saunders said he treats instances like these as mini-playoff series.
“Where you’re preparing for the first time, like a regular-season game, and tonight you’ll dive into the film like you usually do,” Saunders said. “But you’re able to stay with that team, stay locked in with that team for the next couple days when you reconvene with the players and the staff, you can talk about what worked, what didn’t work, make adjustments, and then also make adjustments based on what you think they’ll do with us for the following day.”
Towns still out
Karl-Anthony Towns missed his 15th consecutive game Wednesday, though this absence seemed to have more to do with his current illness than the sprained knee that’s forced him to miss the past month.
The all-star center hasn’t been with the team for the past few days while he’s been under the weather.
He could, and likely will, return to action once this illness passes.