McDaniels back from illness, returns to Wolves’ starting lineup

The Timberwolves got some reinforcements back ahead of Saturday's game against Oklahoma City.

Forward Jaden McDaniels was back in the starting lineup after missing the previous three games because of an illness. Guard Jordan McLaughlin was also back after missing five games because of a left calf strain.

McLaughlin said the calf strain had been bothering him for some time before he stopped playing last week. He had been warming up before each game and traveling with the team.

McDaniels said his illness included a lot of symptoms, from coughing, to dehydration to vomiting.

"I had a little bit of everything," he said.

McDaniels said he tried to ramp himself up to play in Wednesday's game against Memphis, and he participated in the Wolves' post-shootaround "Stay in Shape" scrimmage with other players and staff, but he didn't quite have the stamina back.

"I couldn't do it for a full game or play a game," McDaniels said. "Gave it a couple days, just resting and chilling."

Now that he's back, McDaniels can assume a more significant role on the offensive end of the floor with Karl-Anthony Towns out. Typically, McDaniels has the lowest usage rate among Wolves starters, which means he has the fewest shot attempts plus turnovers per possession, though Rudy Gobert's usage has ducked slightly below his of late.

McDaniels said he plans to be more active on offense, at least a little bit.

"With KAT being out, it's just being a little bit more aggressive offensively," McDaniels said. "Then defensively just continuing to guard the best player and try to hold them to a certain amount. Really just being aggressive on both ends."

Coach Chris Finch said McDaniels may play more at the four, or power forward, position with Towns out, but the team doesn't want his role to change too much, especially on the offensive end.

"For us at the four, it's about putting yourself in actions a little bit more. Screening, that kind of stuff, creating offense with your decision making without the ball as much as it is with the ball," Finch said. "... But we don't want to take away what he's been doing really, really well, which is playing off the ball, cutting a lot, spotting up and making shots."

Holmgren still recovering

Thunder center and Minnehaha Academy graduate Chet Holmgren is continuing his recovery after suffering a foot injury in August that is forcing him to sit out the entire season.

Holmgren, who was the No. 2 overall pick in June's draft, suffered a Lisfranc injury in his foot and had to have surgery. He is set to have a follow-up procedure in coming weeks to remove hardware from his foot.

Coach Mark Daigneault said Holmgren is almost through the most difficult part of his rehabilitation.

"You can't do a ton of basketball stuff," Daigneault said. "He's in a walking boot. There's a lot of limitations on what he can do. As it gets closer to his return to play, things will pick up and it will allow him to be a little bit more engaged from a basketball standpoint, which I think is good for peace of mind."

Daigneault said the staff has kept Holmgren engaged as best it can with film work throughout the season.

"Fortunately he's just a junkie, so he loves everything about the game," Daigneault said. "So, his engagement level throughout this process has been very impressive."