The Minnesota Timberwolves have been fined $25,000 for violating the NBA’s player rest policy after they sat D’Angelo Russell on Sunday, the league announced on Thursday afternoon.
Russell missed Minnesota’s 128-116 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday for what the team called “planned rest.” Under the league’s policy, however, Russell was determined to be a healthy player.
"The Timberwolves accept the league's fine for resting D'Angelo Russell on the February 23 game versus Denver," the team said in a statement, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "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."
Russell was asked about the “planned rest” on Monday ahead of their 139-123 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, and said he had no issue with it. He finished with 29 points after playing 31 minutes in that game, and led the Timberwolves with 27 points in their 129-126 win against the Heat on Wednesday.
“I trust what they do,” Russell said, via the Star Tribune. “Performance team is great here. Performance team is running professional sports nowadays. They’re way more educated than I am in that aspect.”
Russell, who started the year out with the Golden State Warriors before being dealt to the Timberwolves just before the trade deadline, has played in just five games in Minnesota this year and in only 38 total while battling numerous injuries — including to his shoulder, ankle and knee. Despite that, however, the 24-year-old has averaged a career-high 23.7 points and 6.5 assists this season.
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