Possible Schism Developing Between Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves

Photo: Geoff Burke - USA TODAY Sports

Karl-Anthony Towns has been the face of the Minnesota Timberwolves since he was drafted #1 overall in 2015. He’s never been your classic “fan favorite” superstar but he puts up monster numbers and has stood as the only bright spot on roster for much of his tenure at Target Center.

There has been little drama made public between Karl and the Timberwolves organization, during his NBA career. KAT rarely makes waves that the Wolves PR department has to answer questions about and, in return, the organization doesn’t really leak criticism on Towns that reaches the public space.

Karl-Anthony Towns Points Finger at Wolves

The two sides have mostly held hands for the last seven years. But that changed last week when Karl-Anthony Towns took to Twitch to voice his displeasure about how the Timberwolves organization has handled the public timetable on his lower leg injury.

Back in November immediately following the injury, Adrian Wojnarowski (ESPN) reported it was a grade-2 calf strain, which normally has a 4-6 week timeline to return.

According to KAT, however, a grade-2 strain was never the diagnosis. Instead, Karl claims it was a grade-3 calf strain, which would push the return timeline to 10-12 weeks. Even more intriguing, was who Towns seemed to be pointing the finger at. Not at Woj or other members of the media.

He appeared to be upset with the Minnesota Timberwolves, seemingly suggesting that they leaked the phony timeline, possibly on purpose.

“It was never a Grade 2 [strain], it was never going to be a Grade 2, unfortunately. “I prayed to God almighty that it was a Grade 2, but I knew it wasn’t. It was a Grade 3.”

“I wish it was four to six weeks. I knew then it wasn’t going to be four to six. The team was trying to say four to six. There was no way with the injury I sustained, it’s a very significant injury. I don’t know if they were trying to give false hope to the fans or what the case may be.”

Karl-Anthony Towns on Twitch (quotes via Star Tribune)
karl-anthony towns injury timeline calf strain minnesota timberwolves
Nov 28, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) is helped off the court by Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) and a member of the Timberwolves staff after being injured against the Washington Wizards in the third quarter at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Schism (or strain) Between Towns & Wolves?

Towns has been out since the end of November, when he collapsed to the floor in clear pain against the Washington Wizards. The original 4-6 week timeline is now up and it’s clear he’s still weeks away from a return.

Jon Krawczynski (The Athletic) seemed to confirm KAT’s frustration with the Minnesota Timberwolves when he appeared on KFAN Radio Monday with Dan Barreiro, saying there is palpable consternation right now between the two sides. The Towns conversation begins at the 10:50 mark and lasts about two minutes (partly transcribed below).

“I do think that there has been some miscommunication [on timeline of return].”

“There were other outlets that did say 4-6 weeks and whether they got that from the team or whether they got that from someone else, it’s hard to say. But I do think that there is some sort of miscommunication or maybe even a little bit of a strain between Towns and the organization, in terms of the medical side of things, that they’re working out right now.”

“From Karl-Anthony Towns’ comments, on his Twitch stream, it does seem like he is pointing the finger more at the organization. So maybe there is something they have to work out that way.”

Jon Krawczynski on KFAN Radio
Nothing to see here…?

Karl has been a good teammate for most of his career — besides that one time he called Anthony Edwards out for his eating habits — and, prior to injury, he willingly changed his role in the Timberwolves offensive and defensive schemes to incorporate Rudy Gobert.

In his absence, Anthony Edwards has clearly risen to the top of the locker room. Chris Finch & Co want Ant to run away as the top leader and #1 puzzle piece of the organization, going forward. It’s important to point out the fact that Karl-Anthony Towns has never been an alpha-type and he’s always been the first voice to lift Edwards publicly.

But his Twitch outburst and the “strain” that’s been reported since does make me wonder if KAT is starting to show signs of frustration with all of the change taking place around him, since the Gobert acquisition.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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