Karl-Anthony Towns lost 17 pounds, hospitalized with illness last week

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns watches from the seats during the NBA basketball team's open practice Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)
Karl-Anthony Towns, seen here on Saturday, was sidelined from Timberwolves practice until Monday. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

Karl-Anthony Towns returned to Minnesota Timberwolves practice on Monday, a day after his girlfriend Jordyn Woods wrote on social media that she took him to the hospital last week.

Towns confirmed to reporters that he was hospitalized with an illness and that his weight had dropped to 231 pounds — 17 pounds below his listed playing weight. He didn't have COVID-19, but declined to further disclose the nature of his illness. He did note that he was exhausted and struggled to summon energy to walk.

“I couldn’t leave anywhere," Towns said, per the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I couldn’t do too much physically. When I say walk, I mean truly, it was a big moment and I was very excited to be able to walk out my front door and take a walk.

"It was a short one, but it was something. Whatever, a 5-, 10-minute walk was a lot for me. I was just happy to be able to do that.”

Some of Towns' weight loss was intentional as he transitions to power forward. Rudy Gobert will take over at center after the offseason acquisition from the Utah Jazz. Towns told reporters that he plans to test himself at his current weight before deciding whether to pack on more pounds.

For now, he's happy to return to the practice court after previously missing out on Timberwolves training camp.

"There was more drastic things to worry about than basketball at that moment," Towns said. "I wasn't too worried about basketball for a while. But I miss the game, I love the game. I miss these guys. Sick and tired of recovering at the house and not being able to leave and do anything."

For now, Towns is limited to non-contact drills at practice, per the Pioneer Press. Head coach Chris Finch told reporters that he won't play in Tuesday's preseason opener against the Miami Heat. Towns expects to be ready for Minnesota's Oct. 19 season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Towns said that he was keeping his family in mind in his decision to not disclose his illness. Towns lost seven family members, including his mother, to COVID-19 before testing positive for the first time in 2021.

"Keep it private," Towns said. "We don't have to put people through that again. It was a tough time for all of us. I'm just happy to be back playing basketball.

"We live in a world where everyone wants you to share everything you do. Some things I want to keep close to me and my family. We don't have to share everything."