The Minnesota Timberwolves are holding onto their playoff hopes by a thread right now. They had a big win on Monday against the New York Knicks, but they are still just 36-37 and lead the No. 11-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the standings by only one game. Fortunately, they are about to get reinforcements. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that star big man Karl-Anthony Towns will return to the lineup Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks. According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Anthony Edwards could also return to the lineup on Wednesday, but his status has not been announced.
Towns has been out since late November due to a Grade 3 calf strain. He reportedly suffered a setback in his rehabilitation earlier in the season, and has therefore been out roughly four months, but now the Timberwolves are expecting to get their All-Star big man back in the fold quickly.
Edwards suffered what looked like a scary ankle injury in Thursday's loss to the Chicago Bulls when he seemingly sprained his ankle and needed to be helped off of the floor. Fortunately, the injury proved less serious than initially expected. He has only missed two games, and getting him back would give the Timberwolves their primary perimeter scorer for the stretch run.
Of course, just being healthy is only half of the battle. The team Towns was playing for early in the season is not the one that he is returning to. Close friend D'Angelo Russell has been replaced by Mike Conley. Edwards has ascended to All-Star status, and Rudy Gobert's role has clarified as Minnesota's lone traditional big man. Kyle Anderson has flourished in a starting role lately.
Towns is one of the most talented big men in the NBA, but reintegrating him onto a team that has held its own without him for most of the season is not going to be easy. The Timberwolves have just nine regular-season games remaining, so if they plan to make any noise in the playoffs, they're going to figure out how to do it quickly.