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Karl-Anthony Towns thankful to be back in action after clearing health and safety protocols

Towns has no idea how he got COVID-19 this time around. He said he thought he was being “the safest person,” never leaving his hotel room upon the team’s arrival and ordering room service for meals.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) warms up before a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, at Target Center in Minneapolis.
Nick Wosika / USA Today Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Karl-Anthony Towns finished 2021 the same way he started it: By getting COVID-19. Not exactly the best way to ring in the new year.

The good news is the Timberwolves center’s symptoms weren’t as serious the second time around. Towns, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, tested positive for COVID-19 again ahead of Minnesota’s game in Utah on Dec. 23.

“It was the timing that was awful. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. You’re supposed to be with my family, couldn’t make that happen,” Towns said. “New Year came, was in bed. I’m just happy to be out of it finally. I missed enough holidays, I just want to come back to the game of basketball. So for sure was sick. Definitely lost weight.”

Not the 50 pounds Towns said he lost in his previous bout with the virus, but he did say he’s down 15 pounds since contracting the virus. He added that he didn’t lose much in terms of strength.

Towns has no idea how he got COVID-19 this time around. He said he thought he was being “the safest person,” never leaving his hotel room upon the team’s arrival and ordering room service for meals.

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“It’s kind of weird to see that I got it. But, the way the NBA is, the players, people are getting sick left and right,” Towns said. “So for me, it always felt crazy. I always felt it wasn’t about an if I got it, it was when I got it. And I got it at the most inopportune time for my personal life.”

But he’s glad to be back to work. He’s tired of watching Wolves games from home and couldn’t wait to return to action Wednesday against Oklahoma City.

“Be with these guys, be with my teammates. I missed them tremendously,” Towns said. “The game of basketball is a big part of my life, so I’m just glad (to be back).”

But that doesn’t mean he didn’t enjoy watching his teammates compete in his absence. He commended the players who filled in admirably while many of the team’s stars were out of commission; Anthony Edwards, D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Patrick Beverley all have been in health and safety protocols at some point in the past three weeks.

“They were balling. We all could see that, from media to plays to the league,” Towns said. “Nathan Knight, I mean, he’s fantastic. Jaylen Nowell, he solidified himself. He’s always done that, but I think he cemented himself for the fans and how special he really is. Can’t speak enough about Greg Monroe. I never got a chance to actually speak to him in person or anything, but just what he brought to the team is just invaluable. It’s priceless. He came in and has done so much for us. We could go down the list. Jake Layman, I think, has played amazing, and TP (Taurean Prince) has come on fire in these recent games. Everyone has stepped up. Next man up mentality. Everyone had their opportunity, and they made the most of it.”

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