The Minnesota Timberwolves’ chances of making the playoffs are growing slimmer by the day. After their loss to the Warriors in San Francisco on Sunday, they sit in ninth place in the Western Conference and stand just half a game away from being outside the play-in picture entirely. Their third straight loss dropped them back below .500 overall.
The Wolves are in serious danger of being at home on the couch when the playoffs start in April. But some major news that dropped on Monday evening may have saved their season. Shams reported that LeBron James is expected to miss potentially major time for the Los Angeles Lakers after suffering a foot injury in the team’s contest with the Mavericks on Sunday.
After playing through the injury during the game in Dallas, James was evaluated and initially only ruled out for the Lakers’ Tuesday game with Memphis. But now, he is expected to miss “an extended period of time” going forward, and this could have major ramifications on the Timberwolves’ season.
LeBron James’ injury timeline could give the Timberwolves life in the standings
The Lakers have largely been disappointing this season. But in recent weeks, they have revamped their roster at the trade deadline and looked to be in the midst of a hot streak, winning three games in a row. After jumping multiple spots in the standings, it was looking like LA could become a late-season playoff challenger with one of the greatest players of all time leading the way.
But with LeBron’s injury, a major wrench has been thrown into the Lakers’ plans. Still sitting at three games under .500, their chances of winning enough games in the next six weeks to sneak into the playoffs or play-in just got much lower. Their offense is heavily predicated on James’ scoring prowess, and they now face an even bigger uphill battle.
In turn, the Minnesota Timberwolves appear to have new life in the standings. Just last night all seemed lost, with multiple teams gaining ground on them after another heartbreaking loss, and a harrowing schedule ahead of them in their final 19 games. But with this news, LA may be out of the picture entirely.
If the Lakers are unable to recover from losing LeBron, the Timberwolves would have one less team to worry about beating out for a spot in the play-in. In any case, this news makes Minnesota’s Friday night matchup with LA that much more crucial.