Kevin Love wants to play in Game 3 of the NBA Finals Wednesday night. He’s been lobbying for it with the team.
He’s not going to — he has not been cleared through the NBA’s concussion protocol. He will be in street clothes. And he is not happy about it, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
First, he can be mad at the Cavaliers if he wants but this largely out of their hands. Tyronn Lue doesn’t get to make this call, GM David Griffin doesn’t get to make this call, nor should they. To play Love needs to go through a series of tests and physical activities without symptoms, then have the results of those approved by both the Cavaliers team doctor and a neutral, league-appointed neurologist. The Cavaliers do not have the final say here (team doctors can be influenced).
Second, the system is set up to eliminate (or come close to it) game-time decisions regarding concussions. Which is how it should be. We are talking about brain health here, we are talking about very competitive people being asked to self-report symptoms, this is not a sprained ankle that you can just tape up. More caution needs to be taken.
Third, Love is far from the first player frustrated by the system. Again, these are competitive players used to a mentality of playing through pain and injuries; that doesn’t mean they should be allowed to.
The most interesting question out of all of this to me: Are the Cavs better off with him out?