Mike Conley injury update: Timberwolves guard expected to return in Game 6

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The Minnesota Timberwolves are facing elimination Thursday night, but as they try to extend their season, they’re expecting to have starting guard Mike Conley in the rotation, per The Athletic. Conley missed Game 5 with a calf strain but is expected to play in Game 6.

This is great news for the Wolves who struggled to keep pace with a Nuggets team that won Game 5 112-97 behind 40 points from Nikola Jokic. It was obvious they missed having Conley’s floor general presence in that loss. Conley sustained the injury with 20 seconds left in Game 4, where it appeared he may have landed on Nuggets’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s foot after elevating for a 3-pointer.

Here’s where the injury occurred:

Conley warmed up ahead of Game 5, but ultimately, the Timberwolves determined to hold him out to avoid risking anything further.

“That was one of the reasons to be cautious with him right here, didn’t feel like he could go. But maybe in a couple of more days, he could go,” Finch said after Game 5’s loss. “Nickeil (Alexander-Walker) did a great job of filling in there in the starting role. It would have been great to have Mike out there and Nickeil off the bench, but we didn’t have that.”

Conley’s facilitation and scoring provide Minnesota with an additional playmaker in the backcourt alongside Anthony Edwards, and a veteran presence to calm things down when the offense gets frazzled. Without that, the Timberwolves have a tendency to settle for poor shots or force things on offense.

The veteran guard is averaging 11.3 points and seven assists, and his 37.5% from 3-point territory has been a necessity for a Wolves team that shot just 30.8% from beyond the arc in Game 5. We’ll have to see if Conley will be 100% in Game 6 because if he’s not, it could do more harm than good. But if he manages to be close to fully healthy, it will give the Wolves more of a fighting chance against a Nuggets team that has won the last three games of this series.

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