Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch plans to travel with team to Denver for Game 1 after knee surgery

It’s unclear if Chris Finch will be sitting on the bench for Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals, or if he will watch from a suite in the area

Despite undergoing knee surgery Wednesday, the Minnesota Timberwolves are planning to have head coach Chris Finch with them in Denver to kick off their Western Conference semifinals series Saturday.

Finch had successful surgery to repair a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee Wednesday, and he is now recovering. The team is planning to fly to Denver on Thursday night before Saturday’s Game 1, though Finch won’t be with them. He’s likely going to travel separately to give himself more time to recover, though he’s still expected to be at Ball Arena for the first two games of the series.

The Timberwolves are working to find a spot for Finch to sit on the bench, too, though it’s unclear where he’ll be able to sit and not be at risk of being hit. If they can’t find a safe location for him, he would likely end up sitting in a suite in the stadium and then join the team in the locker room whenever possible.

That, though, isn’t ideal.

"In typical Finchy fashion, he's like, 'I don't want to sit there and send text messages to somebody behind the bench,'" assistant coach Micah Nori said Wednesday, via The Associated Press.

Finch went down in the final minutes of the Timberwolves’ Game 4 win over the Phoenix Suns, which completed the series sweep and sent them into the second round of the playoffs for the first time in two decades. Minnesota guard Mike Conley collided with Finch while trying to bring the ball up the court, and Finch went down hard into the bench. Finch then had to be helped off the court.

“I told him to sit his [butt] down. He shouldn’t be standing up like that late in the game,” Conley joked afterward. “He’s in the way. But prayers up for him, I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

Nori has since taken over in Finch’s absence, though Finch was helping the team prepare for the Nuggets on Wednesday ahead of his surgery.

Chris Finch underwent surgery to repair a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee on Wednesday.
Chris Finch underwent surgery to repair a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee on Wednesday. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

As best he can, Nori said, Finch is trying to keep the attention off of himself.

"He does not want to be the focus. He trusts all of us. He trusts the players. He's like, 'You guys do yourselves. You've done enough,'" Nori said, via The Associated Press. "The players, at the end of the day, are going to be the ones who decide this series."

It’s unclear how long Finch’s recovery will take, or how long he’ll be sidelined from coaching. The Timberwolves are set to return home to Minneapolis next Friday for Game 3 of their series.