It appears that Minnesota Timberwolves star forward Kevin Love cannot catch a break these days.
No pun intended.
Just days after missing a preseason game because he slept on his right arm during the night (thus spraining it), Love has now unfortunately broken his right hand after a morning workout on Wednesday morning.
Love broke the third and fourth metacarpals in his shooting hand. He’s expected to be out of action six to eight weeks.
This is a huge blow to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Not only will they be without Love for the first month of the season (at least) and beyond, but they will also be without Ricky Rubio as well. Rubio will miss the first six weeks of the regular season while he recovers from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
The Timberwolves open the regular season at home against the Sacramento Kings on Nov. 2.
The best case scenario would be for Kevin to return sometime during the first week of December. The schedule poses little threat in November as the Wolves will have just 6 games against teams who finished 2011/12 with a winning record.
vs Kings, @Raptors, @Nets, vs Magic, vs Pacers, @Bulls, @Mavericks, vs Bobcats, vs Warriors, vs Nuggets, @Blazers, @Warriors, @Kings, @Clippers, vs Bucks
Nothing is a guarantee of course, but the soft schedule is certainly a blessing considering the team will be without its two most effective players.
Replacing Love’s numbers will be next to impossible. In 2011/12, Kevin averaged 26.0 points, 13.3 points and 2.0 assists while shooting 37.7% from long-range.
In his absence, players like the newly acquired Andrei Kirilenko, former #2 overall pick Derrick Williams and promising center Nikola Pekovic will have to step up in his place.
Williams especially. This is a perfect opportunity for Derrick to prove his worth to the franchise after falling down the depth chart this offseason with the team acquiring small forwards Kirilenko and Chase Budinger. He averaged a disappointing 8.8 points on 41% shooting last year while regressing in many areas of his game. With Love’s injury, this could be Williams last chance to earn some PT in Minnesota.
Love seemed primed and ready for the 2012/13 season after getting himself into even better shape this summer and helping the USA Men’s Basketball Team win Olympic Gold in London.
He also came out publicly back in July on his desire to participate in the NBA postseason sooner rather than later with this Wolves team. The franchise hasn’t qualified for the playoffs since 2004.
The injury is unfortunate, but if the rest of the roster can hold down the fort with their star on the sidelines and Kevin can return to full health come December, this team still has a legitimate chance to secure one of those final playoff spots in the West.
You can’t keep a good Wolf down.
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports