NBA play-in

Rudy Gobert uncertain for Wolves’ play-in game vs Thunder


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Rudy Gobert uncertain for Wolves’ play-in game vs Thunder

OUT? Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert saves the ball from going out of bounds.

Nick Wosika/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Timberwolves fight for the last West playoff spot against the Thunder, possibly without Rudy Gobert again even after the veteran center served his suspension for punching teammate Kyle Anderson

Back from a one-game suspension, Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert might be blocked from returning for Friday’s play-in game by his bad back.

Gobert’s status is “uncertain” due to back spasms when the Timberwolves welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder in the one-game fight for the Western Conference No. 8 seed, coach Chris Finch said Thursday afternoon, April 13.

The Timberwolves are expected to list Gobert as questionable on the injury report, which will be updated again prior to the game Friday.

Gobert missed Tuesday’s play-in game loss to the Los Angeles Lakers while serving a suspension for punching teammate Kyle Anderson during a timeout in Sunday’s victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Gobert completed the prescribed discipline but his back flared up earlier this week. He said Thursday that he would have been unable to play against the Lakers if he hadn’t been suspended.

Gobert said he has spoken to Anderson and that the two have settled their differences.

“I still love Kyle. He’s still my brother,” Gobert said. “I tell people, sometimes you fight with your family. Sometimes you fight with people that you have a lot of love and respect for. It’s life.”

The winner of the contest between the Timberwolves and Thunder earns the final Western Conference playoff spot. The loser is done for the season.

Gobert, a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, was considered a disappointment in his first season with Minnesota after being acquired from the Utah Jazz for four players and five first-round draft picks, including 2022 pick Walker Kessler, who became an immediate defensive force for Utah.

Gobert averaged 13.4 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in 70 starts for the Timberwolves.

The 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 (2013-2022) and Minnesota. –

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