Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Timberwolves’ Chris Finch has torn patellar tendon from collision with Mike Conley

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch was helped off the court late in the fourth quarter of Game 4 against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night after a scary collision with his point guard, Mike Conley. The team later confirmed that Finch tore his patellar tendon in his right leg. 

The Timberwolves held on for a 122-116 win to complete a sweep of their first-round series and advance to second round for the first time since 2004.

With just under two minutes remaining, Conley was dribbling up the sideline when he got bumped and fouled by Devin Booker. Conley’s momentum carried him off the court, where he crashed into Finch, who collapsed to the ground. Finch appeared to cry out in pain and grabbed for his knee. 

Minnesota’s players and coaches made a circle around Finch, who remained on the ground for a brief period under the care of the team’s medical staff. Eventually, he was lifted to his feet and helped back to the locker room with 1:41 remaining in the game. Assistant coach Micah Nori assumed control of the team for the remainder of the game. 

“I didn’t see him at first, I was just trying to push the ball up the floor and Book hip checked me out of bounds,” Conley said. “Prayers up for him. I’m sure he’ll be fine. We’ll do it for him and we’ll keep it moving.”

Nori said during his post-game press conference that Finch was in good spirits after the game and the entire team went to the medical room to check on him. 

“With the way Finchy does things and the way we’ve done things all season long, everybody has their roles, everybody has each other’s back,” Nori said. “I know it sounds cliche-ish and corny but it’s just next man up, even with the coaching staff… I would never say business as usual, because Finchy does a phenomenal job, just trying to carry over what he’s been doing.”

The Timberwolves were up 117-113 when Finch departed and outscored the Suns 5-3 the rest of the way to hold on for one of the biggest wins in franchise history. This is the first sweep ever for the Timberwolves, and just the third playoff series they have ever won. 

They will now face the winner of the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers. The Nuggets have a 3-1 lead in that series with Game 5 set for Monday night. The timing for the Timberwolves’ next series will depend on when the Nuggets and Lakers wrap up their matchup. 

At this point, it’s too early to know whether Finch will be available to coach Game 1 of the second round. 

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