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Reports: Rudy Gobert suspended for Lakers-Wolves play-in game, did not travel with team

After getting into an altercation with teammates during Sunday’s game against the Pelicans, Rudy Gobert has beeen suspended for the Wolves' game against the Lakers.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

Update — Monday, April 10: According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Shams Charania of The Athletic, Rudy Gobert has been suspended for Tuesday’s NBA play-in game between the Lakers and the Timberwolves for punching teammate Kyle Anderson during a timeout on Sunday, and did not travel with the team to Los Angeles.

The suspension is for one game, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, and Woj reports that Gobert is expected to return after that game is served.

Original story on yesterday’s fracas follows.

As the Lakers were eventually putting away the Utah Jazz on Sunday afternoon, the big story elsewhere around the league was the implosion mid-game of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Just before halftime of the Wolves-Pelicans game, Rudy Gobert and Kyle Anderson came to actual blows on the sideline during a timeout with the former forced to exit the game.

Eventually, Gobert was sent home at halftime of the game, but the fallout was noticeable. Also involved in the altercation was Jaden McDaniels, who also had to separated in the huddle and then, out of frustration, punched a wall in the tunnel and fractured his hand, an injury that will rule him out of the play-in game.

While that latter injury does not fall at the feet of Gobert, the whole situation is a messy one for the Wolves. After the game, the team released a statement on sending Gobert home, though that obviously failed to answer all the questions.

The question now, then, is what are the consequences of this. With the Lakers and Wolves set to battle on Tuesday, Gobert’s availability is a big question mark surrounding that game.

With McDaniels already out, Minnesota will head into the game shorthanded. Furthermore, Naz Reid went down with his own injury late in the regular season and will be out for Tuesday’s game as well.

If Gobert is also out, the Wolves’ frontcourt rotation starts to get pretty bleak. The only other listed center on the roster is two-way player Luka Garza, who played all of 243 minutes this season. Karl-Anthony Towns obviously can play center and was dominant playing the position on Sunday in the second half, scoring 17 points in the third and fourth quarter.

But matched up against Anthony Davis at the level he’s playing at, only having one true center to match up against him is a daunting task. It might not matter all that much in a one-off game, but any small advantage or disadvantage will be exploited.

Because of that, Gobert’s status is going to be under a microscope. There isn’t much precedent for the league suspending a player for punching a teammate. If he were to be suspended, it would likely come from the team itself.

An altercation like Sunday’s isn’t one that comes out of nowhere. There are likely some issues that have been boiling under the surface for some time. But will Minnesota suspend one of their premier players before the biggest game of the season?

The Lakers can take solace in knowing they beat the Timberwolves with both Gobert and Towns available. But it certainly would feel like a net positive for them to match up against Minnesota while severely undermanned in a game of Tuesday’s magnitude.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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