Towns remains in concussion protocol, misses Milwaukee game

MILWAUKEE — Karl-Anthony Towns remains in concussion protocol and didn’t play for Minnesota against Milwaukee, a night after missing a game for the first time in his career. The Timberwolves lost to the Bucks, 140-128.

The All-Star forward was in a car accident Thursday and didn’t play Friday in New York, ending his streak of 303 consecutive games started. He traveled with the Timberwolves for the game in Milwaukee on Saturday, rather than return to Minnesota, but hadn’t been cleared to play again.

Towns must pass a battery of tests and be symptom-free before returning to the court.

Being unable to play has troubled Towns, coach Ryan Saunders said.

“People asked me if he cared about his (consecutive games) streak,” Saunders said. “He hasn’t and didn’t mention one thing along those lines. It was all about being there for his teammates and contributing. He even had somebody run out and make sure he could get a sport coat so he was dressed properly on the bench so he could be there with his teammates. That says a lot about Karl.”

Towns had played in his second consecutive All-Star game last weekend before he was involved in a car accident on his way to the airport in Minnesota. He was cleared to fly and arrived in New York and was originally ruled questionable, but after further examination he was placed in the concussion protocol.

Towns had started every game since being the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft, the longest streak to begin a career since 1970-71.

Other players will have to continue to step up in Towns’ absence, Saunders said.

″(Friday) night, we found some things that worked for us in stretches,” he said. “Once again, it’s all hands on deck. When you have to make up for a player like Karl, you need everybody to contribute a little more.”

Among the players Saunders will turn to is Taj Gibson, who had a season-high 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the win over the Knicks, and then 20 points and six rebounds against the Bucks.

“Taj is a pro’s pro,” Saunders said. “Just being ready. Just filling in and doing all the dirty work and really keeping the team together, too. That says a lot about him and his character.”