NBA player Rudy Gobert was suspended by his team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, for their first play-in game after throwing a punch at his teammate, Kyle Anderson, during a timeout in the second quarter of the team’s final regular-season game. Despite being back with the team after the punishment, lingering back trouble has raised doubts over his availability for the second game.
Gobert mentioned that he probably wouldn’t have played in the game against the Lakers anyway and aims to return for the next round when the Timberwolves play against Oklahoma City. However, there is no certainty regarding his return, as he still suffers from back pain and isn’t moving as he would like.
The Wolves clarified that the air had been cleared before Gobert rejoined the team. Speaking to reporters, Gobert mentioned that both he and Anderson apologized to each other and moved on. He believes it’s natural to fight with family and people you love and respect, but mistakes happen, and you need to grow and move on from them.
Since being acquired by the Timberwolves in a trade with Utah last summer, Gobert has struggled to find his place in the team. Despite being a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year award winner, he’s had a frustrating debut with the Timberwolves. He’s struggled to fit in as a second big man in the offense with Karl-Anthony Towns and get on the same page with the guards.
The Timberwolves will also miss the services of Jaden McDaniels, who suffered a broken hand, and Naz Reid, who’s out with a fractured wrist. Coach Chris Finch mentioned they are still unsure about Gobert’s availability for the next game, and his back pain remains a concern.