Kevin Love's first broken bone this year (knuckle pushups) damanged the Wolves' playoff chances, and his re-break, along with other assorted injuries, essentially finished off those chances.
But there was still one thing in the back of a Wolves fan's mind as the team endured another lost season: It seemed as though a lot of players would be getting healthy at the same time: Chase Budinger, Nikola Pekovic, Andrei Kirilenko ... and Love. Those first three might still be back around the same time -- maybe in about a week or so? -- but the recent news on Love was not good. He is apparently healing fine, but he will be re-evaluated by his hand doctor in 2-3 weeks, the team announced yesterday. At that point, is he really even going to play in a game the rest of this season, which ends April 17? Our guess is no.
Love hurt his hand Jan. 3, and on Jan. 9 it was announced he would be out 8-10 weeks. Those things are always estimates, but even if we use the Jan. 9 date, we were at the nine-week mark on Wednesday, the same day it was announced he would be re-evaluated in 2-3 weeks. It didn't seem at the time like a season-ending injury, but it might end up being one.
Why does this matter? Well, in the context of the season it really doesn't. But in the context of the franchise gaining any kind of momentum for next season -- and playing decently in April, a stark contrast to their 1-26 record in that month over the past three seasons -- it hurts. Getting those other players back will help Ricky Rubio and his one-man band, but Love's return might have made the Wolves downright dangerous and able to gain some traction for 2013-14 in their quest to make "wait until next year" actually mean something.