The Timberwolves have been as decimated by injuries as any team in the league this season, and that’s included their best player, Kevin Love, appearing in just 18 games.
Love broke his hand in the preseason, then re-injured it to the point where it required surgery. As the team’s medical staff tells him he’s still another few weeks away from being able to play, the thought that Love might not make it back at all this season has begun to cross his mind.
From Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune:
Timberwolves forward Kevin Love knows the season is ticking away on him and he said before Friday’s game at Houston there’s a chance he won’t play again this season.
“I’d say that has crossed my mind, but as far as making a decision, I haven’t made that decision yet,” he said.
Love said he still hopes —and intends — to play the season’s final eight to 12 games.
“We’ll see what a guy like Glen says and see what D.K. and Coach says and we’ll probably all make a decision,” Love said, referring to team owner Glen Taylor, president of basketball operations David Kahn and coach Rick Adelman. “At the end of the day, the decision is still mine and I’d still like to go out there and join the team.”
It isn’t as important to return to the court following a hand injury for a player to regain confidence as it would be with say, a knee injury.
But there would be no reason to hold Love out if he is indeed cleared to go, so while it’s certainly a possibility he might not return this season, if the doctors say he can play, we’ll likely see him for at least a handful of games.
Through the first two weeks of training camp, the Pelicans have seen their frontcourt depth decimated by injuries to Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik, both of whom are out for a few weeks. A deal with Greg Smith fell through after he failed a physical. Now, Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re signing former Knicks and Nets center Jerome Jordan as a short-term solution:
Jordan has only played 65 games in his career and hasn’t been spectacular, but the Pelicans need a body while their two centers are out. Anthony Davis will spend some time at center, but considering the contracts Asik and Ajinca got this summer, Alvin Gentry clearly plans on playing him at power forward as well, and they need a center to at least fill time before Asik and Ajinca get back.
He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.
Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:
“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”
Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.
“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”
At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.