Chris Finch Won't Be on the Court During the NBA Playoffs, but Will He Be on the Sideline?

Sports injuries are never fun. But what about when they happen to a coach? During playoff season, that’s a big problem.

Jamie Lerner - Author
By

Apr. 30 2024, Published 4:52 p.m. ET

Chris Finch goes down at the Timberwolves Suns game
Source: Getty Images

In the final minutes of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ playoff game against the Phoenix Suns, an injury changed the potential course of the season. Timberwolves coach Chris Finch went down in the fourth quarter after getting bumped by his own team’s guard, Mike Conley Jr., in an unfortunate sideline collision.

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Now, as the NBA’s Timberwolves gear up to face the Denver Nuggets in their next playoff game, we can’t help but worry about the health of their coach. Without Chris guiding the team from the sidelines, the responsibility could fall on assistant coach Micah Nori, who’s been called the “Ted Lasso of the NBA.” What’s the update on Chris Finch’s injury?

Chris Finch goes down at the Timberwolves Suns game
Source: Getty Images
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The latest update on Chris Finch’s injury is that he’ll need surgery.

On Wednesday, May 1, 2024, coach Chris Finch is scheduled for surgery. When he went down at the game, the team’s trainers escorted him off the court, and luckily the Timberwolves were still able to pull out the win without him during the final two minutes of the game in a tight 122-116 final score. Doctors quickly figured out that Chris had torn the patellar tendon in his right knee.

According to ESPN, he’ll undergo surgery to repair the tendon. While the surgery carries few risks, he won’t be able to move his knee and it will have to be kept in a brace, so it may be difficult for him to join the team to coach directly from the sidelines. But the team and Chris are hopeful.

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Chris Finch at the Wizards v. Timberwolves game
Source: Getty Images

“Barring complications from the procedure Wednesday, Finch — who finished third in the NBA's Coach of the Year voting — should be able to travel to Denver with the team Friday,” sources told ESPN. Even still, traveling after a full surgery isn’t easy, and if there are complications, that could put a pin in his plans to continue coaching the team through the playoff season.

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It’s possible that assistant coach Micah Nori could take over coaching the Timberwolves during the playoff season.

While a coach’s injury during a playoff season isn’t ideal, it’s not the worst thing that could happen. If a star player was injured, that would obviously be more detrimental to the team’s chances of winning the season. But even still, it’s not fun for the players or the coach to have to worry about another thing on top of trying to take home the trophy.

Chris Finch goes down at the Timberwolves Suns game
Source: Getty Images
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Luckily, assistant coach Micah has also been with the team for three years (the same three seasons as Chris), so he has a solid rapport with the team. And because of his funny and charismatic post-game interviews, he’s actually been dubbed the “Ted Lasso of the NBA,” so we’re sure that fans would at least be entertained by his sideline coaching.

Ideally, however, Chris will be right there coaching on the court. Sources have said that he’d be on crutches at the very least, but it’s more likely he’d have to watch from the locker room and communicate to Micah on the bench.

"Essentially, he would be like the maestro pulling the puppet strings, and I'd be like Pinocchio, the frontman, but he would tell me what to do and what to say,” Micah told KFAN Radio (via Fox 9). “Unless there comes a time when I act like I don't hear him and I want to try something.”

Hopefully, all goes well with Chris’s surgery, but we’ll likely have a more accurate update after as doctors figure out the proper course of treatment.

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