Love joins Rubio on the sidelines until December

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 18, 2012 - 6:32 AM

Kevin Love broke two bones in his shooting hand working out at his home on Wednesday.

The Timberwolves will play at least the opening month of the NBA season without not just injured Ricky Rubio but two-time All-Star forward Kevin Love now, too.

Love broke two bones in his right hand -- the shooting one -- while working out at his Minneapolis condo before Wednesday's practice at Target Center, the team said.

He is expected to miss six to eight weeks, a conservative timetable that places his return in early to mid December. Or just about the time Rubio will return from March knee surgery.

Love will see a hand specialist on Thursday in New York for further evaluation, a visit that likely will include scheduling surgery.

The Wolves will start the season Nov. 2 against Sacramento without Love and Rubio, their two young stars.

Rubio on Tuesday starting jumping for the first time since tearing two knee ligaments in a March 9 game against the Los Angeles Lakers. He expects to return in November to the Vail, Colo., surgeon who repaired his torn ACL for clearance to resume complete on-court work.

Love's personal trainer, Rob McClanaghan, was in Minneapolis this week working with his client, who arrived at Target Center at mid-morning Wednesday after he reportedly injured that hand working out at home.

If Love misses six weeks, he'd return around Dec. 1, or about 15 games into the season.

He broke a bone in his left hand almost exactly three years ago, on Oct. 16, 2009 when he banged it reaching for a rebound in a preseason game at Chicago. He missed the season's first 18 games that year and returned on Dec. 4.

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said he had this reaction when he heard that Love now, too, like Rubio is lost for November at least probably:

Why us?

"When you hear about it, you feel like that," he said. "I think all of our fans anticipated this season with great enthusiasm. We knew we were going to have to wait for Ricky, and we have two guys to wait for, for a month probably. But I'm going to be positive about it and say we've got some young guys and let's see them step up."

Taylor specifically mentioned how second-year forward Derrick Williams worked hard all summer to lose weight and gain playing time and how forward Dante Cunningham wanted out of Memphis, looking to join a new team where he could play more.

"And now he's probably going to be get more chance to play than he anticipated," Taylor said.

Love, coach Rick Adelman and president of basketball operations David Kahn could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

With Love out, these are some of Adelman's options:

• Expand the role of Williams in his second year. He played 38 and 23 minutes when starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko missed consecutive preseason games last week, then played just seven minutes Tuesday night when Kirilenko, Love and Luke Ridnour all were in the starting lineup for the first time.

• Adelman acknowledged after Tuesday's practice -- and before the team announced Love's injury -- that he'll have a difficult time finding playing time for Williams if all his other forwards are healthy. That will be less of an issue for the next six weeks.

• Move Kirilenko to power forward and play Chase Budinger more at small forward.

• Insert Cunningham into the Love's starting spot. Adelman loves Cunningham's energy off the bench, and might prefer to keep him there in that role. Veteran power forward/center Lou Amundson also will be asked to do more.

• Sign a free-agent forward such as Kenyon Martin or trade for a veteran forward, such as Cleveland's Anderson Varejao. Taylor said the team will look at all options but he said his first thought is to give guys such as Cunningham and Williams a chance.

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