WASHINGTON — Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns had to be helped off the court in the third quarter of Monday night’s 142-127 loss at the Washington Wizards.

The team quickly ruled him out, citing a right calf strain.

Towns will undergo an MRI on Tuesday, but there is some early optimism that he might have avoided a substantial injury to his lower right leg, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Towns was well behind the play during a Wizards break and grabbed his knee area. After a 3-pointer by Kyle Kuzma, play stopped with Towns down on the floor near midcourt. He was immediately helped toward the locker room, not putting any weight on his right leg.

Towns has started all 21 games for Minnesota this season, and he entered Monday averaging 21.4 points.

He had eight points, two rebounds and four assists before his exit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns helped off with strained calf