The Minnesota Timberwolves were fined $25,000 by the NBA on Thursday for violating the league’s player resting policy.
The violation occurred when the Timberwolves were on the road to face the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, and they rested guard D’Angelo Russell, who under the policy was considered a healthy player.
Minnesota called it a “planned rest” for a game the Nuggets won 128-116. Russell has dealt with a number of injuries this season, including knee soreness and shoulder, ankle and thigh ailments. On Feb. 8, he missed what would have been his Timberwolves debut due to a bruised right quad.
In the last two Timberwolves games, Russell played 31 minutes in each, leading the team in scoring with 29 points against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday and 27 against the Miami Heat on Wednesday.
The Timberwolves issued a statement Thursday, and posted it on Twitter.
“The Timberwolves accept the league’s fine for resting D’Angelo Russell on the February 23 game versus Denver,” the statement said. “While we respect the league’s guidelines and standards, we are a player-centric organization that’s focused on learning our players’ bodies. As a new player in our program, we chose to rest D’Angelo in order to learn his body better and to optimize his health during a difficult stretch of games and travel.”
Minnesota acquired guard Russell, 23, from the Golden State Warriors in a trade in early February that included forward Andrew Wiggins. He has started all five games he has played for the Timberwolves, averaging 24.4 points, 8.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds.
While with the Warriors, Russell missed nine games with a sprained thumb from Nov. 17-Dec. 2, and missed six games because of a shoulder issue from Dec. 31-Jan. 10.
—Field Level Media