Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert missed Tuesday’s play-in game after he threw a punch at teammate Kyle Anderson during a heated argument.
The incident happened in the huddle during a timeout in the second quarter of Minnesota’s final regular-season game.
The Timberwolves suspended Gobert for the game against the Lakers as punishment, and Minnesota lost 108-102 in overtime to Los Angeles.
Rudy Gobert of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half of an NBA game at Footprint Center March 29, 2023, in Phoenix, Ariz. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Speaking to reporters Thursday for the first time since the incident, Gobert said he probably wouldn’t have been healthy enough to play the Lakers anyway.
He’s aiming to return Friday when the Wolves host Oklahoma City for their last chance to make the playoffs, but there’s no guarantee he’ll play.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) dunks against Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) during the first half of a game March 29, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
“Still pretty sore. Still not moving like I would like to be able to move but small progress every day,” said Gobert, the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
Gobert rejoined his teammates Thursday as the Timberwolves continue to prepare for Friday’s play-in game against Oklahoma City.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert plays defense during the first half of the team’s game against the Utah Jazz Dec. 9, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
As of Thursday, the big man is listed as doubtful for Friday’s game.
A few days after the incident, ESPN reported the Timberwolves were somewhat understanding of Gobert’s reaction due to Anderson’s comments about the center.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Anderson called Gobert a “b—-” on a night he was playing with an injury.