NBA Rumor: Kevin Love Injury

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According to a source, this is not a new injury. Love is still feeling the effects of a lingering right calf strain that limited him to just 25 games during the 2020-21 season, where he averaged 12.2 points per game, lowest since his rookie season, to go with 7.4 rebounds. Love spoke with confidence about his health on July 6, the first day of Team USA training camp. But once the exertion picked up, Love wasn’t feeling right and concluded that he hasn’t yet gotten over the hump, with no amount of rehab or treatment available to get him to that point before the Olympics.

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Kevin Love not thinking retirement yet

Now come even more questions, many without an answer. Where do the Cavs and Love go from here? What’s the plan for getting him healthy again? Is that even possible? Should he be in their plans this coming season? What can his body tolerate? How many minutes can he handle at this stage of his career? Will he need load management rest nights? Is the pain in his calf truly preventing him from feeling like himself or is that simply a logical explanation for the harsh reality he faces after 13 rigorous NBA seasons? That he may never be the same again.

Kevin Love: And so I’ve gone almost 10 months now without playing basketball, like, when I previously my whole identity was wrapped up in basketball, thankfully, it’s not. But there’s been guys that have their entire identity in basketball that have had it taken away from them. There have been a lot of injuries this year, a lot of non contact injuries as well. So I think that is just another level to this, when you love the game so much, and you have it taken away from you, it can be really, really tough on your mental health.

JJ Redick: When I’m hurt, I feel guilty. Kevin Love: Oh, my God! That’s so funny you said that… I have regrets! Like I’m getting, like, and for what? It’s not my fault. That’s what I was just telling the assistant coach today, a guy that I love, Dan Geriot, I was like, ‘you see me, you see how hard that I attack injuries and how hard I work. Like I don’t have to tell you, but I’m telling you just because I feel guilty. Like I feel like I’m letting you guys down in the way you are.’ And you know, you get on top of that you get paid all this money to put a ball through a hoop and fans and people ask when you’re going to be back. On the other side of that, too, it makes me feel guilty because people don’t understand, like the difference between a grade one, grade two, grade three, and I have a grade twi and people are like, ‘why aren’t you back in three or four weeks?!’ I’m like, I can’t explain it to you. Because I’m not going to chirp back at you or I’m not going to, you know, text you back something that’s just like, I’m taking care of it. I’m busting my ass to get back. But boy, I feel so guilty more than anything. It’s like letting your teammates down.

Kevin Love took a big step in his recovery on Thursday afternoon, going through his first full-contact 5-on-5 practice. “He actually did pretty well,” Cavs head coach Larry Drew said afterward. “He moved around pretty well. Got a little winded, which is expected. The first time he has really been in a contact situation where we went up and down and there was actual contact. I thought he moved really well, shot the ball well, passed the ball well. Hopefully tomorrow there are no setbacks when he comes to practice and we will see how he is.”

Kevin​ Love is targeting​ a mid-January return​ to​ the court from foot​ surgery, following a consultation​​ Monday with Dr. Martin O’Malley in New York. When he returns, the Cavs plan to play him. Sounds obvious, considering Love’s a five-time All-Star, but the situation is trickier than you might think. Love had cartilage removed and fluid drained from the base of the big toe on his left foot by O’Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery on Nov. 2. Scans on his foot Monday were clean, and he can begin to ramp up his workouts in another three to four weeks, he told The Athletic. He said he wouldn’t return before he’s ready, estimating his absence extending another six weeks.

How close is Love to a return? That’s a question no one in the organization can answer. Love recently spoke on ESPN’s The Jump about coming back sometime after the new year. But in a positive development, he’s been on the bench for the last two home games. On Monday morning, Love was doing more rehab work off to the side following shootaround, tossing a medicine ball up against the wall. Later that night, he was out of his walking boot, cheering on his teammates while they were making a second-half rally on his bobblehead night.

When Drew was asked whether there’s a chance Love is shut down for the season, he paused for a moment before answering. “I’m not concerned about that,” Drew said. “I haven’t gotten anything from our side as far as missing for the year. I’m going to proceed with the whole fact that he is going to be out for a period of time and that’s how we have to prepare. Like I said, I’m hoping he will be back sooner than later. But I have to prepare this team as best I can since he’s not here.”
More HoopsHype Rumors
August 1, 2021 | 9:39 am EDT Update
Hollinger: I’ve heard a lot of different stuff, but if I had to bet on one outcome, I think it ends with an offer sheet from the Bulls that the Pelicans decide to match after Kyle Lowry signs with the Mavericks. At the end of the day, Ball is both young and good, and having him on a multiyear deal on the same timeline as Zion and Ingram is still New Orleans’ best option. Keeping him also lets them re-sign Hart and use their full mid-level exception — and hopefully build the team in a more organic way than relying on the cap-space fairy to save them.
With Ball’s ties to the Los Angeles area, there will always be speculation about him making a potential return to the West Coast. With Russell Westbrook going to the Lakers, the Clippers are obviously the only team we should focus on here. There have been some rumors about the Clippers having interest in Ball to fill their hole at point guard. Reggie Jackson was incredible during their playoff run last year, but I’d imagine the Clips have some interest in getting younger and a little more athletic in the backcourt.
Tatum is healthy now and is also coming off his best game in a Team USA uniform, with 27 points and five 3s in a 35-point win over the Czech Republic Saturday night. Tatum was terrible in that exhibition win over Spain (3-of-9 shooting) and in the Olympics-opening loss to France (3-of-9 shooting); he scored 17 but was 2-of-7 from 3 in the 54-point win over Iran. “I don’t know,” Tatum said Saturday night, when asked why he thought he’d gotten off to a slow start. “New environment, new basketball, different style of basketball, the rules are different, playing on a new team, it’s a lot of things. But I was never worried, never concerned. I knew that shots would fall eventually and start to feel good about yourself, and then it’s just basketball.”
Storyline: Olympic Games
Spain is much closer in that department and has the discipline to run an offense that could exploit some of Team USA’s defensive switches. Unless Tatum is back to his old self, and the Americans we’ve seen in the last two games are the collective pieces of a set that is not going to suffer another setback. Any more of those, and the gold medal chase is over. These games really count now. “Our confidence never wavered,” Tatum said. “We understood that it wasn’t gonna be easy. We didn’t have our full team until four days ago, five days ago, so we knew that we had a lot of challenges ahead of us. And we also know that we would continue to get better every day, we would get better from each game, each practice, just the more time that we spent together, we were never going to be the same team, from day one, that we are now. And hopefully we’re better this time next week than we were today.”
August 1, 2021 | 7:33 am EDT Update