Let’s go with the sad news first, that way I can tear us down before I build us back up! Strategy!
Kevin Love told Jerry Zgoda that he knows missing the rest of the season is a real possibility. He’s able to admit that to himself, knowing that while he definitely wants to get back onto the court for the team, he still has to listen to the doctor and wait for clearance with the clock on the season ticking away.
Timberwolves forward Kevin Love knows the season is ticking away on him and he said before Friday’s game at Houston there’s a chance he won’t play again this season.
“I’d say that has crossed my mind, but as far as making a decision, I haven’t made that decision yet,” he said.
Love joined the team in Houston on its two-game trip that ended Friday night against the Rockets. He learned Wednesday in a visit to his New York City hand surgeon that his right shooting hand hasn’t yet healed enough for him to play.
He said he will have that hand scanned again in two to three weeks and the results will be sent to his surgeon, who will then determine if he can play the season’s final two to three weeks.
That kind of sucks. It doesn’t mean he will miss the rest of the season; he says that he thinks he can still play the final eight to 12 games of the season once he gets cleared to play. And looking at the schedule and the two-to-three weeks he has before he’s reevaluated, roughly 10 games of action seems like the best-case scenario. If he’s cleared in two weeks, he’ll probably need a practice or two to get back into game shape (or good enough game shape to feel confident on the court). That would give him roughly 10 to 12 games left to play, depending on how the practices get fit into the schedule.
Love seems to fully understand exactly why it’s necessary to get back onto the court before next season, not just for himself and the team but for the fans to know there is possibly something to look forward to with this franchise.
“The hand is great, my body feels great. It’s going to be a big offseason. Part of coming back [yet this season], you want to give the fans something, but you also want to do something for the team and yourself. You kind of want to see what you have here when you have a full team, and we really haven’t had that yet.”
Just looking at Love before and after workouts around the arena, he does look like he’s in much better shape this time. I have no idea how his upper body strength is right now, but he looks svelte compared to his prior post-injury condition.
Now for the good news!
Love aside, it looks like this team is just about healthy, if the schedule would allow them to get some practices in.
Chase Budinger has been cleared for contact basketball and needs probably two practices until he knows how effective and ready his body is on the court. He told me after the Wolves’ win over the Spurs that he’s been dunking and doing a lot more basketball activities. He’s shooting the ball off of cuts and movement and spot-up situations. And from the comments of the players and coaches, it seems like his shooting stroke didn’t go away during his recovery time.
The Wolves are also very close to getting Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko back. They also need a practice or two to see how well their body will respond to some bump and grind (no R. Kelly). The problem is the schedule hasn’t been flexible with fitting practices into the days off. The Wolves play a healthy amount of games in a short amount of time. They just completed a back-to-back against the Spurs and Pacers. They had a day off in-between the back-to-back and the loss to Houston, but you’re not going to have your team practice the day after a back-to-back.
Adelman also canceled practice for today and shoot around for tomorrow before the game against the Hornets. The team just needs its rest so the other nine healthy guys don’t get more worn down and injured while trying to work back three semi-healthy guys. They’ll have a back-to-back starting tomorrow with the Hornets and then in Memphis, so you can be sure the Wolves won’t practice on Tuesday. But they have a day off on Wednesday where they can get a practice in. Will that be enough of a test for their three semi-healthy guys before Thursday’s game against the Kings?
We’ll have to wait and see, but this team is very close to being healthy. That’s pretty good news.