HOUSTON – Timberwolves star Kevin Love offered his reaction to 848,000 Twitter followers, then said it again before Saturday night’s 112-101 loss to Houston after learning summer workout partner Derrick Rose needs surgery on his other knee.
“Basketball is just a lot better with him around,” Love said.
The Chicago Bulls star and 2011 NBA MVP suffered a medial meniscus tear in his right knee Friday at Portland and is out indefinitely after he undergoes surgery.
It’s a less serious injury than the torn anterior cruciate ligament surgery in his left knee that caused Rose to miss all of last season. Love cringed anyway after seeing footage of Rose coming up injured when he turned to get back on defense without coming into contact with anyone.
“It’s sad,” Love said. “I was upset when I heard the news. That was tough to watch.”
Love and Rose work out with each other in Los Angeles in summers because they share the same basketball skills coach. Love watched his friend prepare diligently last summer in his comeback from that torn ACL.
“He worked smarter, too,” Love said. “He did everything. He took days off, just to take care of his body. He made sure from head to toe everything was in sync. It’s got to be really deflating for him. I just hope for his well-being that he’s all right mentally.”
The Wolves played their fourth game in five nights against an opponent that hadn’t played since Wednesday, but they seemingly caught a break when Rockets star James Harden didn’t play because of a sore foot. That is, until Houston made nine first-half three-pointers and built a 15-point lead.
Harden missed one game earlier this season because of that foot and possibly could miss Monday’s game at Memphis as well. Jeremy Lin started in his place in a two-point guard lineup beside starter Pat Beverley.
Wolves guard Kevin Martin returned to the Toyota Center, where he once played for Rick Adelman. Martin was traded away to Oklahoma City in a blockbuster deal that brought Harden to the Rockets in October 2012.
“We played these guys in the playoffs last year,” Martin said. “I’m kind of past that stage. I feel like I’ve been here enough to be over it. That’s part of the business, you know?”
The game also brought together Love and Rockets coach Kevin McHale, the ex-Wolves boss who acquired Love on draft night in 2008.
“He has had a great run,” McHale said of Love. “You hope when young guys come in they find their place in the league. He really has. He has been fantastic.”
• Forward Terrence Jones started for the Rockets and delivered 18 points and 10 rebounds. Houston drafted him 18th overall in 2012 with the pick acquired from the Wolves for Chase Budinger.
• Wolves rookie Shabazz Muhammad was available to play after missing five games because of a sprained ankle but didn’t.