Unfortunately for Timberwolves fans, it was a self-inflicted injury. McDaniels committed his second foul with 44.9 seconds left in the first quarter. Shortly thereafter, McDaniels walked down the tunnel and punched a wall, which is presumably how his shooting hand broke.
Cameras caught the incident on video.
The injury is a brutal blow for the Wolves, who will now be without arguably the league’s best perimeter defender heading into a Play-In Tournament featuring three dynamite scorers in LeBron James, Brandon Ingram and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Things won’t get easier for the Wolves if they do make it out of the Play-In. If they defeat the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night in L.A., Minnesota would draw a rematch with Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies; if they lose that, and are able to overcome the winner of the Pelicans/Oklahoma City Thunder matchup, the Wolves would then face Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets.
Only the Wolves could lose an All-Defense First Team-caliber performer because he decides to punch a wall out of frustration. Prior to the injury, McDaniels was in the midst of a run averaging 14.6 points on 52.3/43.2/72.7 shooting splits, 4.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.9 stocks across 20 games played since the All-Star Break.
McDaniels wasn’t the only one who got into trouble with his hands, though.
An on-court “players only meeting” is actually a pretty cool way to celebrate Fan Appreciation Day.pic.twitter.com/ZEszqxbzPz— Kyle Theige (@KyleTheige) April 9, 2023
Rudy Gobert threw a punch at Kyle Anderson after Slow-Mo said something that crossed the line for the three-time All-Star. As a result of the incident, the Timberwolves made the decision to send Gobert home.
“We made the decision to send Rudy Gobert home after the incident in the second quarter,” Wolves President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly said. “His behavior on the bench was unacceptable and we will continue handling the situation internally.”
Minnesota Head Coach Chris Finch said postgame that the team would review the situation internally before making any decision about when Gobert may return to the team. Gobert was questionable entering the game with back spasms, and scored just two points and grabbed only three rebounds in 13 minutes of play.
Next up for the Timberwolves is the 7/8 Play-In Game in Los Angeles against James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers on Tuesday at 8:30 PM CT. Fans can watch the game on TNT.