Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns revealed in an interview with The Athletic released on Monday that he suffered a significant setback in his recovery from a Grade 3 calf strain in January and had to restart his rehab process essentially. 

"It was obvious. You have a boot one day, then you're out of a boot, and now you're back in a boot. That's a setback," Towns said. "I think there will be a time and place to talk about that. But not right now."

Towns did not go into further detail about the setback, but he shared more about the nature of his injury, which occurred on Nov. 28 during a game against the Washington Wizards. While initial reports suggested it would be a four-to-six-week recovery period, Towns said that was never the case. 

"I knew since day one it was going to be a long road, a Grade 3; I tore a lot of my calf," Towns said. "It was like 95 percent torn off. I knew it wasn't going to be an easy road. I was going to have to wait to do its thing, then reassure it's going to do its thing, then lather it to make sure that it would hold together in the moment."

The interview helped explain why Towns has missed the past 51 games -- the longest injury absence of his career -- and why there has been little in the way of updates from the Timberwolves. If there was initial vagueness from the team about when he may be back, that was only increased when he had his setback. Even to this point, there's no exact timeline for when he'll play again, but Towns did say that "there's some light at the end of the tunnel."

If Towns could get back on the floor before the end of the regular season, that would be a huge boost for the Timberwolves, who have struggled as of late. They've lost three in a row and five of their last six to fall to ninth place in the Western Conference at 35-37, and All-Star guard Anthony Edwards is now sidelined with an ankle sprain -- though he is not expected to miss significant time. 

In the 21 games that he has played this season, Towns averaged 20.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists while shooting 50.5 percent from the field. The concerns about his fit, or lack thereof, next to Rudy Gobert would be reignited, but having him back as an option would be an overall positive for the Wolves as they try to hang on to at least a play-in tournament spot. Entering Monday's slate of games, they sit right in the middle of the congested bottom half of the playoff picture -- 1.5 games behind the sixth-place Dallas Mavericks and half a game ahead of the 12th-place New Orleans Pelicans