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Shams: Both Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns Could Return Wednesday vs Hawks

The boys are back, just in time for the final push for the NBA Playoffs.

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LA Clippers v Minnesota Timberwolves - Play-In Tournament Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Minnesota Timberwolves All-Stars Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns could both return as soon as Wednesday when the Wolves host the Atlanta Hawks, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Edwards has missed the team’s previous two games and change with a right ankle sprain he suffered in the first quarter of last Friday’s double-overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls. The team went 1-2 in those games, thanks to a heroic 35-point effort from Taurean Prince in a potentially season-saving win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.

Because of course he did, Ant decided to tape his ankles before the Bulls game, which, according to our friend Chris Hine of the Star Tribune, is “something [Edwards] never does.” By doing so, Edwards probably avoided a much more serious ankle injury with resulting in missing significant time. But, he’s Anthony Edwards, so he may only end up missing 11 quarters instead.

This is the day Wolves fans have been waiting on for a long, long time. Towns has missed the team’s last 52 games — in which the Timberwolves have stayed afloat thanks to a 26-26 record — due to a Grade 3 right calf strain, which usually take anywhere from 8-12 weeks to recover, barring a setback. Unfortunately, Towns told our friend Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic that he suffered “a major setback” in late January, which resulted in KAT going back to a boot and essentially reset his recovery process.

“It was obvious. You have a boot one day, then you’re out of a boot and now you’re back in a boot. That’s a setback,” he said, declining to say what specifically happened. “I think there will be a time and place to talk about that. But not right now.”

That directly disputes a statement from Timberwolves Head Coach Chris Finch, who on January 30 said that Towns did not suffer a setback.

Towns told Krawczynski he felt both he and the team could’ve handled the communication process surrounding the injury better, as fans began to think he wasn’t doing everything he possibly could to get back on the court.

“I wish we communicated a little better so the fans didn’t have a false narrative that I was the one holding off,” Towns said. “I’ve never in all my years have I done anything remotely close to that. I want fans to know that.”

Wolves President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly was very complimentary of Towns’ work ethic during the rehab process.

“Karl has attacked rehab in a monster fashion. He’s been chomping at the bit,” Connelly told The Athletic. “It was a severe injury. It was his first soft-tissue injury. He and our medical and training staff deserve so much credit for making sure that when he gets back out there, he’s right.”

“We’re just really proud of how he’s approached rehab, and we’re extremely excited that his return is imminent,” Connelly said.

Later on in the piece, Towns said he felt his game hasn’t regressed and that he feels he can still be one of the best players in the world when he returns.

“I was just happy that I’m on the court, and I felt like I didn’t lose a step,” Towns said. “I’m still that great player and still know I’m him. I’m always going to be him.”

“I’ve been playing really, really well in those five-on-fives,” Towns said. “I’m super excited to get out there again and show the world what I do best, and that’s be an all-world player and be one of the best players I can possibly be.”

When he takes the floor, either as the last starter to hear his name called, or as the first player off the bench, the euphoric roar he receives from Target Center is going to be a moment we remember for a long, long time. I still get chills thinking about the reception Minnesota Lynx star Napheesa Collier got last summer when she returned just 10.5 weeks after giving birth to her daughter Mila, and I can’t wait to have that same feeling when Towns is back in action.

KAT will provide much needed scoring and shooting that will help take the pressure off Edwards, who has carried one of the heaviest offensive loads in the entire NBA since Towns went down in on November 28. Now, Towns returns to play alongside an All-Star in Edwards for just the second time in his career (Jimmy Butler in 2017-18) — and the best supporting cast he’s ever had — with the opportunity to go on a run and secure a playoff spot for the second consecutive season.

The Timberwolves’ foundational duo went on a memorable run with Jaden McDaniels, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley last season. Now, with McDaniels, Mike Conley, Rudy Gobert, Kyle Anderson and Co., the Towns/Edwards duo is well-equipped not just to make the playoffs, but make some noise when they get there, health permitting.

Ever since the Wolves fell to the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 6 of the first round last April, Timberwolves fans have been craving that intoxicating feeling of seeing their favorite team get after it in the playoffs. Now, they’ll get to see Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards back in the trenches together for the first time in four months, ready to fight and take this franchise to heights it hasn’t ascended to since 2004.

Buckle up.