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Preview: Hornets come back from break against Timberwolves with Kelly Oubre Jr. set to return

Hornets basketball is back. So is Kelly Oubre Jr.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

What: Charlotte Hornets (17-43) at Minnesota Timberwolves (31-30)

When: 8:00 PM EST

Where: Target Center; Minneapolis, Minn.

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

Outfitting: Hornets — City (granite); Timberwolves — City (white)

Injury report

CHA: Cody Martin (knee soreness), OUT; Kelly Oubre Jr. (hand surgery), PROBABLE; Terry Rozier (hand sprain), PROBABLE.

MIN: Karl-Anthony Towns (calf), OUT.

After missing 24 games following surgery on a nagging left hand injury, Kelly Oubre Jr. is set to return as the Charlotte Hornets come back from break with a matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Oubre was listed as probable by Charlotte Hornets PR last night, and The Charlotte Observer’s Rod Boone updated a story he wrote featuring a few things head coach Steve Clifford wants to see as the season winds down soon after. The veteran forward was expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks when he underwent surgery on Jan. 5. Excluding the All-Star break, since no games were played, Oubre ended up missing about six weeks of game action with the injury.

How restricted Oubre’s minutes load is, if at all, will be notable as he reintegrates into the new-look lineup. Bryce McGowens is most likely to lose some playing time with another wing in the fold, especially as he nears the active games limit on his Two-Way contract, but Dennis Smith Jr. and Svi Mykhailiuk will likely see their minutes decrease. Plus, Terry Rozier is probable to return after a brief absence, which eats up another 30 minutes in the backcourt.

In the first meeting of the season on Nov. 25, 2022, Oubre dropped 28 points to lead the Hornets to a 110-108 win over the Wolves, snapping Minnesota’s five-game win-streak. Rozier had 22 points and eight assists in that game and Théo Maledon added 14 and seven assists.

On the year, the Wolves rank 19th in offense and 12th in defense, led by first-time All-Star Anthony Edwards averaging 24.9 points per game. We saw them shake it up a bit at the trade deadline, trading point guard and known friend of Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell to the Lakers in a three-team deal that landed them Mike Conley and Nickeil Alexander-Walker from Utah. Conley should act as a stabilizing force on both ends of the floor as he reunites with Rudy Gobert to help with Minnesota’s playoff push.

Charlotte has a chance to win three-in-a-row tonight, something they haven’t done all season. The Hornets are on the road for this one before returning to Charlotte for a four-game homestand. Don’t let them get hot...