Kevin Love has returned to practice for the Minnesota Timberwolves and is eying a mid-March return. Love had high expectations heading into this season after representing the United States in the London Olympics and playing well. He missed early games due to an injured right hand which occurred in October when love was doing knuckle pushups. He re-injured the hand on January 5th which required surgery ten days later and is expected to keep him out well into March.
Love’s absence has been obvious as the Timberwolves have struggled mightily without him. The Timberwolves were 10-10 with Love in the lineup and 15-14 when he suffered his most recent injury. Since then the Timberwolves have gone 3-14 steadily dropping in the Western Conference standings. Even if it means conceding defeat this season, the Timberwolves must wait until Love is completely healthy to allow his full return.
It’s obvious that the Timberwolves need Love. He is the team leader and the go-to guy when the game’s on the line. Since he’s been out the Timberwolves have tried to replicate his presence with other players but have failed.
The problem with injuries such as Love’s is that it can make a player injury prone. The last thing the Timberwolves would need would be to have Love consistently out of the lineup due to injury over the next few years. If the Timberwolves bring back their star too early that’s exactly what could end up happening.
With Love in the lineup the promise is there for the Timberwolves. They have their star and have done well to build around him but the team doesn’t work unless he’s in the lineup. Because of this the Timberwolves must make sure Love is completely healthy before bringing him back. Otherwise the team will likely be forced to go through a full rebuilding process which could take several years.