NBA: Timberwolves coach Chris Finch to have surgery on knee
NBA

NBA: Timberwolves coach Chris Finch to have surgery on knee

/ 08:46 PM May 01, 2024

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch NBA

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch holds his knee after colliding with Timberwolves guard Mike Conley during the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns Sunday, April 28, 2024, in Phoenix. The Timberwolves won 122-116, taking the series 4-0. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Timberwolves will enter their second round playoff series against defending NBA champion Denver with an unsettled bench — coach Chris Finch will be recovering from knee surgery.

Finch, who was hurt in a sideline collision with Timberwolves point guard Mike Conley, will have his ruptured right patellar tendon repaired Wednesday, according to a person with knowledge of the plan. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the team had not yet made the details public. ESPN first reported the news.

The surgery will leave Finch with only three days of recovery before Game 1 in Denver, and this type of procedure typically requires the leg to be immobilized for more time than that. He’ll need crutches for awhile, too. The cramped space on an NBA sideline makes it difficult to envision Finch being able to be on the bench for the beginning of the series.

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READ: Timberwolves coach Chris Finch has torn patellar tendon

Assistant coach Micah Nori took the lead after Finch hobbled off late in the Game 4 win at Phoenix that completed the first round sweep. Nori also coached the team March 8 at Cleveland when Finch was ill. Filling any voids will be a team effort from a staff that has developed a strong sense of chemistry in the short time it’s been together.

Conley was dribbling up the court near the boundary when Suns star Devin Booker bumped into him, sending him hurtling toward the coach. Conley tried to brace their fall, but the damage was already done by the impact. Finch immediately grimaced and grabbed his knee in pain.

Finch, who finished third in the NBA Coach of the Year voting, is 160-127 in 3½ years with the Timberwolves. He’s 7-8 in the playoffs, having led the team there in each of his three full seasons. Finch took over for the fired Ryan Saunders in 2021 when he was plucked from Toronto’s staff. He has also been an assistant with New Orleans, Denver and Houston.

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With the Nuggets, he was hired by coach Mike Malone, his foe for the second straight postseason. Denver beat Minnesota in five games in the first round last year to spark the championship run.

Game 1 is Saturday, followed by Game 2 on Monday and then a three-day break before Game 3 in Minnesota on May 10.

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