NBA play-in

Wolves suspend Rudy Gobert for Lakers play-in game after punching teammate


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Wolves suspend Rudy Gobert for Lakers play-in game after punching teammate

HOTHEAD. Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) protests a call against him during the first overtime against the Chicago Bulls at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Minnesota Timberwolves' frontlines will be razor-thin in the 2023 NBA play-in against the Los Angeles Lakers as Rudy Gobert takes a one-game suspension after punching teammate Kyle Anderson

The Minnesota Timberwolves suspended center Rudy Gobert for Tuesday’s (Wednesday, April 12, Manila time) play-in game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The one-game ban announced Monday follows Sunday’s ugly sideline altercation between Gobert and teammate Kyle Anderson.

Meanwhile, the Timberwolves also announced later Monday that forward Jaden McDaniels is in a cast after breaking his hand and is out indefinitely. McDaniels punched a wall during Sunday’s game.

Gobert was sent home after punching Anderson in the chest during a second-quarter timeout.

According to ESPN, Anderson repeatedly called Gobert a b— on a night when Gobert was playing hurt.

Immediately after the incident, teammates went to separate Gobert and Anderson, and a few went to check on Gobert after he left the court. Anderson then replaced Gobert in the lineup.

“It’s certainly not something that we condone,” Minnesota coach Chris Finch said after the game.

“Veterans can get upset, too. I don’t want to be too hard on him, but obviously it’s not something we’re going to be able to tolerate here. I’m sure he’s already remorseful. I haven’t had a chance to speak with him about it.”

Gobert, 30, issued an apology later Sunday night over Twitter.

“Emotions got the best of me today,” he wrote. “I should not have reacted the way I did regardless of what was said. I wanna apologize to the fans, the organisation and particularly to Kyle, who is someone that I truly love and respect as a teammate.”

Multiple outlets reported that Gobert will not travel with the team to Los Angeles.

Minnesota is the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and faces the seventh-seeded Lakers.

The winner will play the No. 2 seed Memphis Grizzles in the first round, while the loser will play the winner of the Pelicans-Thunder play-in game. The winner of that matchup advances to face the top-seeded Denver Nuggets in the first round.

Gobert averaged 13.4 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 70 starts in the regular season.

The three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and three-time All-Star has career averages of 12.5 points, 11.6 boards and 2.1 blocks in 681 games (589 starts) with the Utah Jazz (2013-22) and Minnesota.

McDaniels fractured the third and fourth metacarpals of his right hand. McDaniels suffered the injury late in the first quarter. Video showed McDaniels punching a wall in the tunnel.

McDaniels averaged career highs with 12.1 points on 59.1 percent shooting along with 3.9 rebounds per game in 79 starts. –

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