The Minnesota Timberwolves entered Sunday with a chance to leap into the 7-8 play-in game in the West with a win over the New Orleans Pelicans, who held a one-game lead on them coming into the day, and some help elsewhere.
However, after falling behind early things began unraveling for the Wolves, as an altercation on the bench saw Rudy Gobert swing on Kyle Anderson, leading to Taurean Prince leaping up to shove Gobert and the star center being escorted to the locker room and ultimately sent home for the remainder of the game. While everyone was talking about Gobert’s punch on a teammate, there was another key Timberwolves player who had his day ended for punch-related reasons, as Jaden McDaniels punched a wall so hard on his way into the tunnel that he injured his right hand and was not able to return to the game.
Jaden McDaniels punched a wall so hard he put himself out of the game pic.twitter.com/QJQFoMI1i2
— Pelicans Film Room (@PelsFilmRoom) April 9, 2023
Jaden McDaniels is not out here as well. He's out with a right hand injury
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) April 9, 2023
I feel like the Wolves might need to have some conversations with their guys about controlling their emotions because losing two players in a pivotal game because they couldn’t stop themselves from punching a teammate/inanimate object seems bad. What is maybe more amazing is, in spite of two of their best defenders being absent, Minnesota still managed to reel in the Pelicans and make it a one possession game late in the third quarter, thanks to some heroics from Anthony Edwards, and their hopes of improving their seeding stayed alive even with the best efforts of Gobert and McDaniels to derail things.
UPDATE: The Timberwolves managed to comeback and win thanks to some great play from Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns, but they figure to have to fight through the play-in and the playoffs without McDaniels, who fractured his hand.
Minnesota Timberwolves F Jaden McDaniels — who was seen punching a wall on his way to the halftime locker room – has a fractured hand, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 9, 2023