Suspension or Not, Rudy Gobert Would Have Sat Out Wolves’ First Play-In Game

Photo: David Berding - Getty Images

The Minnesota Timberwolves will get one last chance at the 2022-23 playoffs on Friday night when they host Oklahoma City at Target Center. If they win, the Wolves will become the 8-seed in the Western Conference. If they lose, their season is over.

Why did Rudy Gobert sit out of first play-in game?

Rudy Gobert sat out of Minnesota’s first round play-in game in LA vs the Lakers, due (officially) to a team suspension after he throat-punched his teammate, Kyle Anderson, on live television in the regular season finale.

But on Thursday, Gobert admitted that it was highly unlikely he would have played, even had he not been suspended. Rudy has been dealing with back issues, which played into his poor play and helped lead to the Wolves infighting earlier in the week. Gobert said he hopes to play tomorrow and, if they had a game tonight, would warm up and give it a shot. But he didn’t seem confident

Reporter: ‘Would you have played Tuesday had you not been suspended?’

Gobert: “Probably not, yeah probably not. Just sitting on the plane for three hours and all that would not have helped. I don’t think I should have played the last [regular season] game. I tried to be a superhero but I couldn’t move, so. I come out there and I can’t move, I can’t be myself.”

Rudy Gobert (video above via KSTP Sports)
Hollow suspension

I was never convinced that the Minnesota Timberwolves benched Rudy Gobert strictly to send him a message. If he were healthy and could have helped them win, there is no way a suspension would have been levied. The game just carried too much importance. But, if Gobert is too hurt to travel with the team, “suspending” him is a lot easier.

What might be more interesting, is that Rudy didn’t cover for the Wolves when asked about his suspension vs injury absence vs the Lakers, instead fully volunteering that his back injury would most likely have kept him out of the contest anyway and proving how hollow the suspension really was.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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