Wolves expect injured coach Finch in Denver for series opener v Nuggets

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Minnesota Timberwolves;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Minnesota Timberwolves</a> head coach Chris Finch grabs his leg in pain after a sideline collision with Minnesota's <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Mike Conley;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Mike Conley</a> in an NBA playoff game against the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Phoenix Suns;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Phoenix Suns</a> (Christian Petersen)

Minnesota coach Chris Finch had surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right knee on Wednesday and is expected to be in Denver Saturday when the Timberwolves open their NBA second-round playoff series against the Nuggets.

Assistant coach Micah Nori, who has temporarily taken the reins, said at the team's practice in Minneapolis that the 54-year-old head coach's surgery went well and his spirits "are remarkably high."

Finch was injured on Sunday, when Timberwolves guard Mike Conley, shoved by Phoenix's Devin Booker, barrelled into him on the sideline.

Finch crumpled to the court and was later diagnosed with a ruptured patellar tendon.

Although Finch likely won't travel with the team to Denver, Nori said the team expected him to arrive before Saturday's game.

"He'll be either behind the bench or up in a suite during the game," Nori said, noting it's not yet clear if the crowded conditions on an NBA sideline -- featuring players, assistant coaches, team training staff and high-dollar spectator seats -- can safely accommodate the injured coach, who finished third in voting for NBA Coach of the Year won by Oklahoma City's Mark Daigneault.

If Finch's role is limited, Conley said the Timberwolves have faith in Nori and the rest of the coaching staff as well as each other to keep the team on course against the reigning NBA champions.

"We have so much trust and respect for all the guys on our staff," said Conley, who Wednesday was named the league's Teammate of the Year.

"Everybody on that bench is more than willing to chip in and help, and players will be ready to go to help player-coach and help each other through this."

The trust starts with Nori, Conley said, despite -- or perhaps because of -- his different coaching style.

"He's an energetic guy. he's funny, witty," Conley said. "I'm not saying Finchy isn't funny and all that stuff, but Finchy can seem a little more serious than Micah, and it's good to have that kind of balance."