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Karl-Anthony Towns back on the Timberwolves’ practice court after hospitalization

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that Towns had a throat infection that caused him trouble breathing. Towns participated in non-contact work in Monday’s practice.

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Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) works around Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Washington on Feb. 15, 2022, at Target Center in Minneapolis.
USA Today Sports file photo
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Karl-Anthony Towns returned to practice Monday for the Minnesota Timberwolves, looking far leaner than the version of the 7-foot center fans remember walking off the court at the conclusion of last year’s playoff series in Memphis. As of Monday, Towns said he weighed 231 pounds — about 20 pounds below where he was last season.

There are a couple reasons for that. Towns certainly has worked to trim down this offseason as part of his transition to the power forward spot, where he’ll start alongside Rudy Gobert. No longer does Towns have to go blow for blow with opposing bigs in the paint on a nightly basis.

But plenty of Towns’ weight loss was unexpected and, likely, unwanted. It stems from the illness Towns battled for the past week-plus that kept him out of training camp and, more importantly, briefly put the Timberwolves star in the hospital. It was the latest form of major adversity Towns had thrown his way.

“I don’t know, for me it’s just life. I just treat it like that,” Towns said at a low volume, noting the soft speak was the most his voice would allow. “Shout out to the people, I don’t want to get into the specifics of it, but people know who they are. Shout out to those people in the hospital, doing an amazing job getting me back healthy, treating me so well. Just happy to be back on the court. Happy to get cleared, at least, to be on the court. So, just happy to be playing basketball.”

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Karl-Anthony Towns

Towns said he still is on medication. He didn’t want to discuss exactly what ailment he was battling, choosing to keep that private “for one, my family’s sake. … We don’t have to put people through that again.”

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“It was a tough time for all of us,” he said.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that Towns had a throat infection that caused him trouble breathing.

Towns participated in non-contact work in Monday’s practice. Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said Towns will fly to Miami with the team for Tuesday’s preseason opener, but he’ll only participate in the morning shootaround. Both Towns and Gobert will miss Tuesday’s game, as Gobert gets rest fresh off of his EuroBasket appearance with France.

Finch said the Timberwolves expect Towns to be “a little bit more towards full go” on Wednesday, though not all the way there. Finch expects Towns will be “ready to go” within a week.

“He’s in really good shape. He does a really good job. He never really falls out of shape when it comes to his cardio,” Finch said. “I think with him, it’s just getting his feel back, some strength back, maybe a little bit of weight back on him.”

Towns said this is the lightest he’s ever been during a season — “even with all the running I did with Thibs, I’ve never been this light.” He plans to test himself out at this weight before determining whether he would like to put pounds back on. Towns confirmed it “looks good” that he’ll be good to go when the regular season begins later this month.

That’s an excellent prognosis that may not have seemed likely as recently as last week. Towns noted he wasn’t even thinking about basketball at that point. He said he wasn’t cleared to walk until Saturday, when he made an appearance at the team’s Fan Fest event at Target Center. Before that, Towns said he was “only able to stay in the house.”

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“I couldn’t leave anywhere. I couldn’t do too much physically. When I say walk, I mean truly, it was a big moment and I was very excited to be able to walk out my front door and take a walk,” he said. “It was a short one, but it was something. Whatever, a 5-, 10-minute walk was a lot for me. I was just happy to be able to do that.”

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Towns appreciated the way the team allowed him to stay up to date while he was out. He was able to watch practice from home. Still, he missed the game and the team. He can feel the energy surrounding the Timberwolves this fall.

Even Monday, he said he felt good to be back on the floor. He loves where he is with his game. Still, he plans on being smart with his return to play, a process that will closely follow medical advice.

“Obviously I’m going to take my time and do whatever the doc recommends, and let my body catch up and get to that feeling,” he said. “I feel good, I feel great. I’m blessed. Blessed to be talking to y’all, blessed to be playing basketball. It’s a fine line between being a competitor and being a family man as well. I want to be able to be the best for my family as well. I’m just taking my time, let the docs and my body take its course and do what it needs to do to get back.

“Whatever the case may be, if it’s preseason and it looks pretty good for it, we’ll just see as the days go by. I don’t want to promise anything. I don’t want to overpromise and underdeliver, especially to our fans, who have been so amazing. I’m going to take my time day after day.”

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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