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Karl-Anthony Towns returns to Timberwolves lineup after 15 games out

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns is in the starting lineup for the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday at Indiana after missing 15 games with sprained left knee.

Coach Ryan Saunders told reporters before the game the two-time All-Star will be on a minutes restriction because of his prolonged absence. Team officials also plan to closely monitor Towns for fatigue.

“He hasn’t played for a while, so you have to take all those things into account,” Saunders said. “You always want to have a full complement of players and when you have a guy who is as productive as KAT is, you always want that guy out there.”

Minnesota went 5-10 without Towns.

Towns averages 26.5 points and 11.7 rebounds and shoots 51.4% from the field, all team highs. He also averages 4.4 assists, the highest among players on the current roster following Thursday’s trade, which sent Jeff Teague to Atlanta.

The Timberwolves will be without guard Allen Crabbe, who they reacquired from Atlanta. Saunders said Crabbe is expected to join the team Saturday in Minneapolis.