Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns was initially diagnosed with a right calf strain after leaving Monday's 142-127 loss to the Washington Wizards in the third quarter.

Towns' injury appeared serious when he went down in a non-contact situation, needing to be helped back to the locker room.

Fortunately, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Timberwolves have "early optimism" that he has avoided a "substantial injury to his lower right leg".

Towns, 27, was the 2016 Rookie of the Year and has gone on to make three All-Star games in 2018, 2019 and 2022, and is the only center to ever win the Three-Point Contest during All-Star Weekend.

The self-proclaimed "best big-man shooter ever" is averaging 21.4 points per game, which is his lowest figure since the 2017-18 season, as well as a career-low 8.5 rebounds and a career-low 0.7 blocks.

After trading four first-round draft picks to the Utah Jazz for Rudy Gobert in a win-now move, the Timberwolves are just 10-11 through their first 21 games as they tick past the quarter-mark of the season.

Towns' absence will allow the Timberwolves to play a more traditional line-up with Gobert as the only center on the floor, and will place an increased offensive responsibility on fellow former Rookie of the Year Anthony Edwards.