The high hopes at the start of the season continue to fade for the Minnesota Timberwolves, as injuries to key players have kept coach Rick Adelman from having all of his best players at his disposal. They are just 5-18 since the calendar turned to 2013, including 11 losses in their last 13 games, and with a 19-31 record, any faint hope of making the playoffs is surely gone.
Perhaps the most notable player to miss time this season is forward Kevin Love, who is in the midst of a second stretch of games missed with an injured right hand. He had surgery to fix the injury in January, and has recently returned to the team as he continues to work his way back. The initial timetable for his return to action was 8-10 weeks, making a return in mid-March a possibility. Timberwolves’ owner Glen Taylor recently expressed hope that Love will return around that time, and all indications are Love himself still plans to play again this season.
But with the Timberwolves going nowhere again this season, does it make sense for Love to return?
Love originally injured his hand prior to the season while apparently doing knuckle push-ups, which is an excuse so odd it almost has to be true. He made a surprising return on November 21 against the Denver Nuggets, and averaged 21.7 points and 15.3 rebounds per game in his first six games back.
But after that, he was fairly inconsistent, making just under 33 percent of his field goal attempts (30-for-91) over his final six games, including a rematch with Denver during which he re-injured his hand on January 3.
Love’s desire to return this season is admirable, and the Taylor would certainly like to see what the team looks like with all the key players in place, since vice president of basketball operations David Kahn is in the final year of his contract. But there’s really little to gain at this point otherwise, and the way things have gone to this point, surely someone else will be injured by a month from now when Love is ready to play.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.