Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns returned to the court Wednesday night after missing nearly a month following his COVID-19 diagnosis, saying he experienced several "scary nights" while he was sick.
"I am a high-risk case," Towns said, per ESPN. "COVID did not treat me well whatsoever. A lot of scary nights. One of the things that I told my sister when I got COVID was that 'Hey, I got it, and I don't got a good version of it. I got a lot of COVID in me, but I am going to fight and beat it.'"
Towns added: "Through all the long nights where I was just not feeling well whatsoever and the vitals weren't good and decisions had to be made on my health, I kept [my family and my niece and nephew] in mind. They pushed me to continue doing things. When COVID kept messing with my body, my mind and spirit, I thought about them and my mother."
Towns's family has mourned the loss of seven family members who died last year due to COVID-19 complications, including his mother, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns. The 25-year-old posted an emotional video last March about his 58-year-old mother being placed on a ventilator and put into a medically induced coma because of the coronavirus. Cruz-Towns died April 13, 2020, at age 58.
After losing his mother and other relatives to COVID-19, Towns said he felt guilty about having access to resources that others might not receive.
"I felt very guilty about the treatment I got," he said. "And I feel that should be more widely available to Americans, to anyone in the world. I felt very guilty even getting something that could help me more just recover, stay healthy, stay alive. There is such mental strain through all this time, a feeling of guilt because of the resources I have, and I wish I could spread these resources with as many people as possible."
Towns tested positive for the virus on Jan. 15 and missed 13 games before his return on Wednesday. He said he wasn't mentally prepared to play after missing so much time, but he still logged 18 points and 10 rebounds in Minnesota's 119–112 loss to the Clippers.
When asked about the NBA's plan to hold an All-Star Game amid the pandemic, Towns joined the growing group of players across the league who disagree with the decision.
"I personally don't believe there should be an All-Star Game, but what the hell do I know?" Towns deadpanned. "What should I know about COVID, right?"