Well, here is a Thanksgiving present for Timberwolves fans everywhere: The Wolves just confirmed that Kevin Love, who broke two bones in his right hand doing knuckle pushups at his home Oct. 17, would suit up and play tonight for the Wolves against the Nuggets at Target Center.
There was definitely a buzz around the tunnel outside the Wolves locker room when the news started to break. Moments later Love, sweaty after doing his pre-game workout on the floor, was asked if it’s true. “If it’s in the media, it must be true," he said with a smile, never breaking stride.
And, frankly, it's rather unbelievable, given the six- to eight-week timeframe the team put out when the injury – which didn’t require surgery – occurred. Love returns just over four weeks after the injury, playing for the first time since last season, in which he averaged 26.0 points and 13.3 rebounds
His teammates, of course, were elated. Andrei Kirilenko said he figured out Love would play during the pre-game walkthrough. “You feel great when your best player is back,” Kirilenko said. “It’s always needed. I’m kinda worried about him a little bit; it’s a hard injury. But I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.”
After playing through a stretch when he only had nine players available, Wolves coach Rick Adelman has a relative plethora of players to choose from. Center Nikola Pekovic returns after missing two games with a twisted ankle. Guard J.J. Barea (mid-foot sprain) is also available after missing the last five games.
But the huge news, of course, is Love, who will make his 2012-13 debut tonight. Love had taken part in practice the last few days, but there had been so little contact during those practices that he was hard to get a feel for how close Love was.
Pretty close, it turned out.
“This is great for us,” Pekovic said. “I know he’s been working hard. Everything looks like it has healed up. So it’s good.”