Gobert suspended, McDaniels out with hand fracture after punches

The Minnesota Timberwolves will be shorthanded for Tuesday’s play-in game against the Los Angeles Lakers thanks to not one but two costly punches.

Star center Rudy Gobert has been suspended one game by the team for punching teammate Kyle Anderson during Sunday’s season finale against the New Orleans Pelicans, and will serve the suspension Tuesday. Additionally, forward Jaden McDaniels is reportedly out indefinitely after fracturing his hand by punching a wall during Sunday’s game.

Gobert will reportedly be eligible to return for the Timberwolves’ next game. If Minnesota loses at Los Angeles on Tuesday, that game will be a do-or-die play-in for the No. 8 seed against either the Pelicans or Oklahoma City Thunder. If the Timberwolves win Tuesday, they will face the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Gobert apologized for the punch late Sunday on Twitter, saying in part, “Emotions got the best of me today. I should not have reacted the way I did regardless of what was said.” 

According to a report from ESPN, Anderson cursed at Gobert before the punch was thrown.

Television cameras also caught McDaniels punching a wall on his way to the locker room in the first quarter, then immediately recoiling in pain and clutching his right hand. McDaniels suffered a fracture in that hand and will be out for the remainder of the Timberwolves’ season, according to ESPN.

Despite the setbacks, Minnesota still beat New Orleans 113-108 to secure the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference heading into the play-in tournament. However, the shorthanded Timberwolves are currently 7.5-point underdogs for Tuesday’s game against the Lakers according to FOX Bet.

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