Hindsight is perfect, of course. But, feeling the way he does now, Kevin Love admits that he probably should have had surgery in the first place.
Love, his right hand still a bit swollen, offered an update on his condition in the Wolves locker room before Sunday's matinee with Golden State. Love broke the third metacarpal in his right hand Jan. 3 at Denver. He had surgery Jan. 15 in New York City. It was his second such injury; he broke two bones in the same hand in the preseason.
The first time, Love opted not to have surgery. In hindsight, he should have.
"Yes," he said. "But the doctor said I didn't necessarily need it. This time it was a clean break."
Love said his hand feels much better than it did the first time at the same point in recovery. "It just feels different, better," he said. "It feels like my hand again."
As for his return? Love will visit with his surgeon either late in the first week of March or early in the second week. But he said he's expecting to play 15 to 20 games, which would target his return to mid-March.
"It's progressively getting stronger," Love said. "With weights, and with everything I can do to improve range of motion, working to get the swelling down and getting the scar tissue out of there."
The first time, after his Nov. 21 return, Love struggled with his shot and complained that his hand just didn't feel right. He already can sense it will be different this time. He is making steady progress, with good results, though there are good days and bad. "Sometimes it feels great, sometimes not so great," Love said. "But there are a lot more better days than worse days."
And Love said it is very important for him to return to play this season, both for him and the team, to lay some groundwork for next season. Forward Chase Budinger, recovering from knee surgery, is also expected back in March.
"Between me and Chase," he said, "having a full roster, that's the biggest thing for us.''
Wolves guard Ricky Rubio has continued to amp up his aggressive play as he has neared 100 percent health. Further proof came Sunday, with his 16 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and six steals. It was his second game in a row with at least 10 points and at least five rebounds, assists and steals.
He became the third player in Wolves history to do that in back-to-back games, and the first since Terrell Brandon in 2001. Rubio now had 23 steals in the past five games.
But a disappointed Rubio was unhappy about his six turnovers. "I have to control more the ball," he said. "But when you take risks, that happens."
Love gained some perspective Sunday in a frustrating season. Before the game he met with some children who have been treated for cancer at St. Jude's Medical Center, including one young girl who hugged his leg.
"Every day is a new day to prove yourself and a new day to make your mark," he said, "not only on the court but off the court. I know that sounds a little cliché, but it's the truth."