One of the more notable, and sometimes more entertaining, aspects of Twitter is how easy it is for athletes, politicians, celebrities and more to engage with news reports about them that they dispute. The latest case on that front comes from the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns, who has missed their past 13 games while recovering from COVID-19. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium tweeted Wednesday that Towns (seen in the middle at top on the bench during a game last February) was “expected to return tonight vs. the Clippers,” and Towns quoted-tweeted that with “News to me!” and said that his plan was to go through shootaround and see how he feels.
This is news to me! Last time I checked, I was gonna go through shootaround and see how I feel. Underlying conditions and Covid don’t mix well. https://t.co/1fZHSTWnEt
— Karl-Anthony Towns (@KarlTowns) February 10, 2021
Update: However, Towns did in fact return to the lineup, and started:
Tonight's @Timberwolves Starters vs. Los Angeles Clippers:
Culver – Left Ankle Sprain
Hagans – G League
Russell – Left Leg Soreness
— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) February 11, 2021
HE’S BACK. pic.twitter.com/IfuIGJDRYc
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) February 11, 2021
As for the rest of this, it did make some sense for Towns to be cautious. He lost seven family members, including his mother, to COVID-19 last year, and as he says, he has some underlying conditions. And there have been some challenges for him through this recovery. And it’s certainly possible that Charania’s “expected to return”
report was still news to him, and was stronger than he felt about his chances of actually playing Wednesday. But in the end, that expectation did prove right.
It hasn’t been an easy road back for Towns. Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders discussed Towns’ path back with reporters Monday, as Jace Frederick of the Twin Cities Pioneer Press writes:
The Timberwolves have had more gym time on the road, which has allowed players like Towns to get added treatment and work.
“He’s been partaking in all of that. He’s really been able to push himself,” Saunders said. “Our medical group has been able to try to simulate certain stints during a game, the stopping and going, what that might feel like with his lungs.”
The Wolves have made a point to find out how Towns’ lungs can handle different durations of high-intensity work.
“Nothing can simulate a game environment like a game,” Saunders said. “Because there’s a lot of bumping, it’s physical and you can’t always simulate it with coaches, even as in shape as our coaches feel they are, they aren’t able to simulate what he’d see against a (Jonas) Valanciunas or a lot of bigger guys we’ve been facing.”
So it’s definitely understandable why Towns was cautious. And he may well have thought “expected to return” was too strong for where things were actually at Wednesday afternoon. But in the end, he did wind up playing, so Charania’s report looks better now than it did when Towns first disputed it. (It should be noted that even at the time, though, “expected to” left leeway for Towns to not wind up playing.) And so this wound up being a back-and-forth about phrasing, percentages, and where things actually were Wednesday when Charania tweeted that, but didn’t wind up with a different actual outcome from that report.
[Karl-Anthony Towns on Twitter/Twin Cities Pioneer Press/photo from Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports]