Wolves forward Kevin Love said he is still pointed towards a return that would allow him to play in “15 to 20 games’’ this season. If that is the case, that would mean a mid- to late-March return. He is going to have a checkup with the surgeon either late in the first week of March or early in the second week.
Love fractured the third metacarpal in his right hand Jan. 3 at Denver. It was the second time he had sustained such a break, the first coming during the preseason when he broke two bones doing knuckle pushups at his home.
The first time Love did not have surgery. He missed the Wolves’ first nine games, returning Nov. 21 against Denver.
Love said his hand feels better at the same point of rehab than it did the first time. Indeed, he said, he probably should have had surgery the first time around. “In hindsight, yes,” he said. “But the doctor said I didn’t necessarily need it. This time it was a clean break.”
But his range of motion is better, as is the hand’s strength, compared with the first time. He is lifting weights and working on range of motion. There is still some swelling in his hand, as well as scar tissue he said needs to be worked out. But he expects to comeback better this time, he said, especially when it comes to his shot, which was a problem in his first return from the injury.
“It’s progressively getting stronger,” Love said. “With the weights and with everything I’m doing to improve range of motion. Hopefully I’ll shoot the ball better this time.”
As for his return? He doesn’t have a specific date yet. He’ll know more after he sees the doctor. But he did say it was very important for him to play as much as he can this season, both for himself at the team. Both Love and forward Chase Budinger, who is coming back from knee surgery, are expected back in March.
“It’s very important,” he said of playing this season. “Just to get back with the full team, Chase included. Having a full roster, that’s the biggest thing for us.”
Meanwhile, it’s the same starting five for the Wolves today – Nikola Pekovic, Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, Derrick Williams and Andrei Kirilenko. They will be taking on a Golden State team that appears to have righted the ship, winning twice in a row after a six-game losing streak.
I’ll get back to you after the game.