Love's glove messing with touch

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 27, 2012 - 7:17 AM

The Wolves power forward hopes to get the OK from the team athletic trainer to play without it.

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Wolves power forward Kevin Love hopes to get the OK from the team athletic trainer to play without the glove on his healing shooting hand.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune file

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OAKLAND, CALIF. - Last week, Timberwolves forward Kevin Love sat at his locker after making his surprise season debut and said he expects to wear a padded protective glove on his healing shooting hand probably until January.

Midway through the fourth quarter of Saturday's 96-85 loss at Golden State -- the team's fifth consecutive loss -- he ripped off that fingerless glove and flung it toward the photographers beyond the baseline.

By then, he was well on his way to a 6-for-20 shooting night that included one of five three-point attempts and two of four free throws made.

In his first three games back from that broken hand, Love is shooting 34.7 percent from the field, 18.8 percent from three-point range and 64.7 percent from the free-throw line.

Those percentages aren't all Love just getting his legs back underneath him.

"It's very restricting," Love said of the glove. "I can't bend my hand back or my wrist back all the way with that on. I have no feel for the ball. That has a lot to do with it. It's tough just having no feel for the basketball. It has been bothering my free throws, been bothering my three-point shot and every shot. It's not an excuse. When you wear something restricting like that, it's hard to be your normal self."

Love practiced without the glove on Monday during a 90-minute workout at Oracle Arena that was his first with the team since he broke his hand six weeks ago and said he "felt a lot better" without it.

He said he will consult with head athletic trainer Gregg Farnam before deciding whether he will wear it Tuesday at Sacramento and what the risks are if he doesn't.

But drenched in sweat after Monday's workout, he sounded as if he already has determined which way he will vote.

"The fact is the doctor said it was OK to play," Love said. "The doctor also said you're back two, three weeks early. For me, I have to keep strengthening it, keep shooting the basketball, keep working on range of motion and keep working on my conditioning.

"It's prohibiting me, it's just not natural. We're not even at six weeks yet. The hand has taken a few good hits. I don't think we're risking much. It just needs to heal, and I need to get more and more shots up. I'm just not in the rhythm yet."

Wolves coach Rick Adelman can clearly see that Love's timing and conditioning haven't returned yet. He also knows that protective glove has affected Love's shooting, but ...

"To me, it's a safety issue," Adelman said. "Does he have it on in case someone slaps down on that hand? Can he re-injure it? I have no idea on that. I'll ask him about it."

The Wolves held a 40-minute film session before Monday's 90-minute practice in which they went over Saturday's fourth-quarter woes.

Love went 1-for-6 from the field in the fourth quarter, when the Warriors outscored his team 26-11. The Wolves scored only two points -- a Love layup -- in nearly eight minutes from the time they led 79-74 with 10 minutes, 20 seconds left until the Warriors led 93-81 with less than three minutes left.

"You can see it in the shots he took in the fourth quarter, those are shots he [usually] makes," Adelman said after Monday's practice. "His timing is not there. He came back and you expect that. Sometimes our guys last game really deferred to him and maybe we shouldn't have, maybe we should have moved the ball a little bit better. Those are all things that will happen. You can't knee-jerk react because you've lost games.

"I have to find ways to make us better. That's what I told them today. We'll look at more film. We'll do whatever it takes to turn the corner. We have to find a way to win a game and move from there. Sometimes that's all, just win a game, it takes to turn things around."

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