NBA Rumors: Could Kevin Love Return Sooner Than Expected?

By Brad Berreman

The Minnesota Timberwolves were dealt another significant injury-related blow when All-Star forward Kevin Love suffered broken bones in his right hand while reportedly doing “knuckle pushups” a couple weeks ago, with the initial diagnosis suggesting he would be out 6-8 weeks.

Of course point guard Ricky Rubio is already expected to be out until around Christmas with a torn ACL in his left knee, so the Timberwolves were quickly facing playing at least the first month of the season without their top two players.

But Love’s timetable for recovery was quickly revised to 5-6 weeks by a hand specialist in New York, and Love suggested on Wednesday that he hopes to return sooner than the original 6-8 week timetable that was given. He is scheduled for a re-evaluation next week, at which point more should be known about his status.

Assuming a 5-6 week recovery period from the original time of the injury, Love could return somewhere around Thanksgiving. The Timberwolves play five games over a stretch of seven days around that time, against the Denver Nuggets (November 21), Portland Trailblazers (November 23), Golden State Warriors (November 24), Sacramento Kings (November 27) and Los Angeles Clippers (November 28).

The last four of those games are on the road as part of a West Coast swing for Minnesota, so it’s reasonable to think if he is not ready to travel with the team for that November 23 game against Portland that Love may not return until November 30, when the team returns home against the Milwaukee Bucks .

In any case it looks like Love will return on the early side of the original 6-8 week recovery time, which is good news for the Timberwolves as they look to be a playoff contender this season. Since he did not require surgery on his hand, he should be able to quickly produce at or near the level he set last season (26.0 points per game, 13.3 rebounds per game) when he makes his return.

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