Welp, here’s the news with Kevin Love that we already know.
The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that after an examination by Dr. Andy Weiland, a hand specialist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, forward Kevin Love will require surgery to repair the third and fourth metacarpal in his right hand. He injured his hand during the third quarter of the Jan. 3 game at Denver.
Details of the surgery expected to be announced tomorrow. Love is expected to be sidelined for 8-10 weeks.
So now what? The Wolves will fight; we know that about them. This is arguably the most talented roster from top to bottom this franchise has ever seen. I don’t know if that says more about this roster or it says more about this franchise, but it would be a pretty good argument to have if you said this is 1 through 15 the best Minnesota has seen.
But that doesn’t really mean anything, does it? The two best players are hobbled. The best shooter on the team is hobbled. A veteran guard who would be really nice to have right now is hobbled. This is not an ideal situation for the Wolves’ goals and expectations heading into this season. And now, it seems like expectations have to be tempered and changed, as if they weren’t already with the bevy of injuries we’ve seen this team take on during the first half of this season.
How do we deal with this season? Is there anger or disappointment? Is there both? There will be some people who are angry with Kevin Love for having “brittle” hands. There will also be people that spout off about curses and fairy tales or whatever they believe in. Mostly, I think Wolves fans will continue to rally around this team because while the task at hand just got a whole lot harder to accomplish, it’s still technically within reach.
The Wolves could very well punt on this season and just hope for the best, which they may end up having to do anyway, even if it’s unintentional. We get to see Nikola Pekovic and his new tattoo operate as a number one option. It’s perfect for him because he’s currently the number one option on a winning team during his contract year. We get to see Derrick Williams continue to develop. Right now, that’s slowly but surely becoming a more entertaining thing to do each night. We get to see Andrei Kirilenko lead the team and Alexey Shved follow him as he tries to soak up every bit of English and knowledge his mentor can muster. We get to see the role players get into their groove within the flow of the system.
But mostly, we get to see Ricky Rubio rehabilitate his knee, his conditioning, and his game over the next few months. If the Wolves continue to win games during this time and can rally around the players they’re able to put on the court, it can only build chemistry within this core heading into next season. If they decide to pay to keep the core together this summer (and from what I’ve heard the money won’t be an issue), then you’re adding an All-NBA 2nd Team power forward to the mix next season.
Yes, that is a good thing, no matter what you think of Kevin Love right now.
If Love comes back in eight weeks, he’ll be back around March 4th and will play roughly the last 25 games of the season. If he comes back in 10 weeks, he should be available for roughly 17 games. A Wolves team that hovers around .500 during the brutal stretch could use a healthy (ish) Love for that final stretch. If he’s not able to come back in that time frame or if the team is not even close to the playoffs, then you can shut him down and let him properly train for next season.
Personally, I find it hard to believe this team will still be in playoff position without Love for this long. I’m fully hoping to be wrong about this but I’m not going to hold my breath. I’m just looking forward to watching Ricky progress and Derrick develop as a player. This season isn’t lost, but it’s not exactly found right now. I’m at peace with this because the injuries just piled up too fast and too often. I don’t think this team needs to feel pressure to make the playoffs this season. I didn’t really think they needed to at the beginning of the year.
This is the year they show improvement. So far, we’ve seen that. Now they can shoot for the playoffs next year and anything good that happens between now and then is just icing or gravy or icy gravy.