Towns returns to Wolves lineup after harrowing highway crash

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns has been cleared to return to the Minnesota Timberwolves following a highway automobile crash he called himself fortunate to have escaped alive.

Towns spoke to reporters Monday before Minnesota’s game against Sacramento. He said he was on his way Thursday to meet the team at the airport, with assistant strength and conditioning coach Kurt Joseph driving, when a semitruck slammed into the back of their vehicle. They were stopped on the interstate because of an accident in front of them.

Towns emerged with only minor injuries. He took a commercial flight to New York, but he was held out of the game Friday and again Saturday at Milwaukee per the league’s concussion protocol. That ended his streak of 303 consecutive games started, the longest to start an NBA career since 1970-71.