Multiple Minnesota Timberwolves players reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, causing the postponement of Friday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Minnesota Timberwolves made it nearly a month before COVID-19 directly impacted their day-to-day operation. And now, it’s announced its presence in a major way.
News broke late Friday afternoon that the game between the Wolves and the Memphis Grizzlies would be postponed. Shortly afterward, we learned why.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Memphis Grizzlies postponed due to positive tests
The Athletic’s Shams Charania was the first to announce the postponement on Friday. Roughly half an hour later, Karl-Anthony Towns made a terrible announcement.
Obviously, any positive COVID-19 test is scary and it’s always horrible news.
But by now, everyone knows the immense hardships that the Towns family has encountered over the past 10 months that were directly related to the virus. For Towns himself to contract the virus is … mind-numbing.
The Wolves said that they thought their protocols were strong enough to contain any spread, but the NBA postponed the game in the name of caution.
What we know so far about Minnesota Timberwolves players and COVID-19
Towns is the only publicly confirmed case; the team is not announcing which players test positive and is leaving it up to them to confirm a positive test if they so choose.
Towns doing so tracks with his transparency throughout the past year, from his mom’s initial diagnosis, her tragic passing, and his dad’s stint in the hospital.
On Thursday, we found out that both Juan Hernangomez and Ricky Rubio would be unavailable to play on Friday due to health and safety protocols, but Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reported that only Hernangomez would be subject to a 10-day isolation period.
It’s unclear how long Rubio’s absence might be, and while we haven’t officially been told that Hernangomez tested positive, it’s fair to infer that he may be a positive test and perhaps Rubio is a close contact.
The team released a statement saying that ongoing contact tracing was the reason for the Wolves not having the required eight players available to play on Friday.
So … what happens next to the Minnesota Timberwolves schedule?
The Minnesota Timberwolves are next scheduled to take the court for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee in Atlanta.
If Rosas is correct in believing that the virus spread was contained within the organization, then it’s plausible that the Wolves could play on Monday assuming there are no more positive tests over the weekend.
If that’s the case, the Wolves will be without Towns and Hernangomez and probably Rubio. Expect Ed Davis, Naz Reid, and Jordan McLaughlin to receive plenty of additional run. Additionally, Jarred Vanderbilt will almost certainly move into the starting lineup, and there may even be a chance that rookie Jaden McDaniels gets a non-garbage time opportunity in the coming week.
We’ll be back throughout the weekend if any other Wolves news breaks. In the meantime, thoughts and prayers go out to Towns and his family, as well as Hernangomez, Rubio, and anyone else who is experiencing COVID-19 and its impacts firsthand.