Timberwolves star Zach LaVine has a torn ACL and his season is over

Zach LaVine tore the ACL in his left knee and will miss the rest of the season, the Minnesota Timberwolves announced Saturday.

LaVine was hurt in Friday night’s loss to Detroit and an MRI revealed the extent of the injury. It’s another setback for the T-wolves, who have struggled to develop their core of young stars under new coach Tom Thibodeau.

The reigning Slam Dunk Contest champion, LaVine recently announced he wouldn’t defend his title, explaining he wanted to focus on developing as an all-around player. The 21-year-old was averaging a career-high 18.9 points in his third NBA season.

Karl-Anthony Towns, part of the Wolves’ Big Three, said he was moved to tears when he heard the news.

“That’s not just my teammate, that’s my brother. That’s one of my best friends,” Towns told reporters. “For him to have to go through that, it hurts me a lot. I’m just wishing him a speedy recovery.”

LaVine is shooting 38.7 percent from 3-point range and has worked harder to become a better defender. He was averaging 37.2 minutes per game, tied for third-most in the league.

“He’s made himself into one of the best two guards in the league,” Thibodeau told reporters. “His overall game has really blossomed. He’s shooting the three great. The free throws, the drives. All of it. So he’ll get through it. He’s a mentally tough kid. And, as I mentioned, he’s already talking about what’s next.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.