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Wilson graduate Chris Finch, coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, suffers ruptured right patellar tendon in Sunday’s win

PHOENIX — The Timberwolves were en route to their first series sweep in franchise history Sunday in Phoenix. But the closing minutes — which ended in celebration — weren’t without a major bump in the road for the Wolves.

Or, rather, a collision.

Mike Conley was dribbling up the floor late when Suns guard Devin Booker gave him a bump and sent Conley flying toward the Wolves’ bench. Conley fell directly into Timberwolves coach Chris Finch, who was a standout player at Wilson and and Franklin & Marshall.

Finch, 54, fell to the floor and grabbed at his leg. He eventually was helped away from the court. The team said Finch ruptured his right patellar tendon.

Conley collides with Finch
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch, right, tries to avoid Timberwolves guard Mike Conley, back left, after Conley was fouled by Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, left, during the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Sunday in Phoenix. Finch is a Wilson graduate and starred at Franklin & Marshall. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

“I didn’t see him, honestly, at first,” Conley said. “I was just trying to push the ball up the floor and Book hip checked me out of bounds and when I saw him it was too late. I was trying to grab him. Knocked over, hit his head, and I think his foot got stuck. So it was just bad timing. … Prayers up for him, I’m sure he’ll be fine. We’ll do it for him and we’ll keep moving.”

After the game ended, players made their way into the medical room to see their coach.

“And he’s obviously in great spirits and so are the guys,” said Wolves assistant coach Micah Nori, who served as acting head coach in Finch’s absence.

“He didn’t wanna see me at first,” Conley joked. “I walked in and he started to run away. He just tried to shoo me away.”

Anthony Edwards was clearly upset by the injury — perhaps because it was a product of a Booker bump.

“I was mad as hell. I was mad. Because it’s not even something I want to talk about. I was (ticked) off,” Edwards said. “But we had to finish the game, win the game. But for sure I was mad as hell.”

And Minnesota did finish the game off with a win with Nori steering the ship. The assistant coach successfully executed end-of-game scenarios that included an inbounds play resulting in a bucket, offense-defense substitutions and key timeouts.

“At the end of the day, everything, the way Finchy does things and the way we’ve done things all season long, everybody has their roles and everybody just has each other’s backs, if you will,” Nori said. “I know it sounds cliche and corny, but it’s next man up, even with the coaching staff – Pablo (Prigioni), Kevin Hansen, (Elston Turner), all those guys were great. … It was kind of – I would never say business as usual, because Finchy does a phenomenal job, but we’re just trying to carry over what he’s been doing.”

That could be the case moving forward, as well. No treatment plans have been announced yet for Finch, but it’s logical to assume he’ll need surgery. Minnesota’s next series will start Saturday or next Monday. Will Finch be able to start that series on the front row of the bench? It feels unlikely. But he’ll certainly have a heavy hand in any schematic and rotational decisions.

After graduating from Franklin & Marshall in 1992, Finch spent the next 15 years as first a player (5 years) and then a coach in Europe.

He returned to the United States in 2007 to coach the Rio Grande Viper in the NBA G League and got his first job in the NBA in 2011 as an assistant with the Houston Rockets. He then coached with Denver, New Orleans and Toronto getting the head coaching job in Minnesota in 2021.

Finch was inducted into the Franklin & Marshall Hall of Fame in 2002. He finished his career with the Diplomats with 1,287 points and was an honorable mention All-American in 1991 and 1992. The Diplomats won three Middle Athletic Conference titles during Finch’s time and advanced to the Division III national title game in 1991.

Source: Berkshire mont

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