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Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns will undergo surgery to repair a torn left meniscus and will be re-evaluated in a month, according to a report from ESPN on Thursday. 

If the timeline is accurate, Towns could potentially return early in the Western Conference Playoffs.

Towns is a major reason why the Timberwolves are having their best season in years. He’s averaging 22.1 points per game while shooting 50.1% from the field and a career-high 42.3% from 3-point territory. He’s also averaging 8.4 rebounds and three assists per game. Towns and Rudy Gobert have formed one of the league’s best frontcourts, helping the Timberwolves establish the league’s best defense (108.6 ppg). 

Entering Thursday, Minnesota was tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the top spot in the Western Conference. The Timberwolves, who have held the top seed in the West for much of the season, are only 2.5 games ahead of the fourth-seeded LA Clippers but hold a 7.5-game cushion over the seventh-seeded Sacramento Kings. The Timberwolves need to finish with a top-six seed to avoid having to play in the play-in tournament, which they needed to do in order to reach the postseason in the past two seasons. 

With just over a month remaining in the regular season, the Timberwolves have the league’s 11th-most difficult remaining schedule. They face the reigning champion Denver Nuggets three times as both teams jockey for the Western Conference’s top seed.

Minnesota signed veteran forward T.J. Warren to a 10-day contract on Wednesday to provide some depth in the frontcourt. 

Towns has had multiple injury issues over the past few seasons. He missed 51 games with a calf injury last year. In previous seasons, he missed time due to tailbone, knee and wrist ailments. 

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