Hard hit lands Love in hospital in Wolves loss

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 12, 2012 - 6:40 AM

The Wolves' All-Star was expected to be hospitalized overnight after suffering a mild concussion during a loss to Denver.

DENVER - One day after Ricky Rubio clattered into a Target Center press room on crutches to discuss his season-ending knee surgery, teammate Kevin Love was hospitalized overnight in Denver on Wednesday because of a mild concussion and neck strain sustained in the team's seventh consecutive loss, 113-107 to the Nuggets.

Love was injured late in the first quarter when Denver center JaVale McGee -- 7 feet tall and most of that limbs -- inadvertently elbowed him in the head on a drive to the basket.

The blow laid out Love flat on his back, and teammate J.J. Barea immediately motioned for medical help. Love remained mostly motionless while team athletic trainer Gregg Farnam attended to him and all of his concerned teammates came to the other end of the floor to stand watch.

"I knew it as soon as he hit, when I saw his eyes on the floor I knew he was out," Barea said. "He was talking, but he wasn't all there. A mild concussion is still bad, but he'll be fine."

Love was later helped to a sitting position and then was helped off the floor very slowly and groggily with less than four minutes remaining in Wednesday's first quarter. He wore a neck brace while medical staff worked on him in the locker room.

He is the latest casualty in a season filled with injuries, including Rubio's torn knee ligaments. On Wednesday, the Wolves also played without Luke Ridnour (sprained ankle) and Wayne Ellington (back spasms).

"It just seems like that happens every game to us," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said.

Love will miss Thursday's home game against the Los Angeles Clippers and will be out until he passes a series of league-mandated tests that prove he is symptom-free as part of a concussion policy the NBA adopted before this season.

The Wolves trailed 23-20 when Love was hurt. With him gone for the night, the Nuggets went on a 16-4 run that ended the first quarter and began the second quarter. They led by as many as 24 points late in the first half and early in the second half.

And then?

And then the Wolves transformed the game with a 32-11 run that ended the third quarter, began the fourth and tied the score twice in the final five minutes. They scored eight of the game's final 10 points in what Nuggets coach George Karl called the "worst win of the year."

Until this season, the Wolves never have had two players come off the bench to score 25 points each in the same game.

Now they've done it twice in two months after Anthony Randolph scored 28 points before he fouled out and rookie Derrick Williams scored 27 on Wednesday. In February, Williams and Michael Beasley each scored 27 in a victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles.

On Wednesday, Randolph scored 19 points after halftime, Williams 18 after halftime. At one point, Williams scored 16 of 18 Minnesota points.

"That's how you have to play," Adelman said about the energy and effort his team found in the second half. "We've been talking about that forever."

Randolph has been a fixture on the Wolves' bench most of the season. But he produced a big night after Love went down injured.

"Oh, one name: Anthony Randolph," Barea said when asked about the Wolves' comeback. "He gave us what we needed for a while now: Somebody to come in with some energy, block shots, rebound, play hard, hit people, finish at the other end. He did it all. That's something we've been missing for a while. He hasn't been playing all year and he stepped up big today. Good for him."

  • DENVER 113, WOLVES 107 Up next: 7 tonight vs. L.A. Clippers • Target Center • TV: FSN (830-AM)

    timbwolves AT denver, Late Up next: 7 p.m. Thursday vs. L.A. Clippers • Target Center • TV: FSN (830-AM)
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