Love returns to lineup despite bruised thigh

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 11, 2014 - 12:04 AM

Timberwolves forward Kevin Love went up for a shot during the first half against Houston on Monday.

Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Timberwolves star Kevin Love returned to the starting lineup Monday after missing two of the past three games because of a body that hurt almost everywhere, but particularly because of a bruised thigh sustained in Friday’s loss at New Orleans.

Former Wolves teammate Greg Stiemsma kneed him in that game. Combined with the effects to his neck, back and tailbone from a nasty fall in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers last week, Love was too sore and stiff to play in Saturday’s home loss to Portland.

“He’s got sharp elbows, sharp knees,” Love said. “He laid a lot of those blows back here last year. I was on the wrong end of one.”

Love decided in the final minutes before games Wednesday at Oklahoma City and Saturday against the Blazers that he was just too hurting to play. He said before Monday’s game that he intended to play and did so, returning to the lineup on a night when starters Nikola Pekovic (ankle bursitis) and Kevin Martin (thumb fracture) remained out.

“It was tough to get up and down the court most of all,” Love said afterward. “In the halfcourt, I was fine. Knock on wood, if I don’t get it banged again, it’ll start to feel better. It’s just the way it goes.”

Pekovic missed his eighth consecutive game, and Martin missed his second in a row.

Mentored

Even feeling sore, Love put on a show Monday in front of Rockets coach Kevin McHale, who made a draft-night deal in 2008 to bring Love to Minnesota when McHale was the Wolves’ basketball boss.

“I learned a lot from him,” said Love. “He gave me my first real opportunity to go out on the floor and have success. He always took me aside and worked with me. Between him and Big Al [Jefferson], they had a lot to do with where I’m at today.”

Reversed roles

McHale coached the Rockets Monday and Flip Saunders sat in a suite, looking on as the Wolves’ president of basketball operations. Those are roles that are reversed from the years when they ran the Wolves together, McHale as the basketball boss and Saunders as coach.

“I think he’ll do well,” McHale said when asked about Saunders now filling his former job. “I think he’s got a pretty good nucleus. In our league, if you can be a little bit unique, it helps you. They have two really rugged [players] in Pekovic and Love, and a lot of teams just aren’t set up to kind of deal with that. So add pieces around it and it will be good.”

Pekovic and Love, by the way, are the two remaining pieces from players acquired while McHale ran the team.

Royce White sighting

Former Rockets first-round draft pick and Minneapolis’ own Royce White attended Monday’s game and sat in the front row opposite the Wolves bench.

He hasn’t played an NBA game since the Rockets drafted him 16th overall in 2012 because he disagreed with how the Rockets handled his anxiety disorder. He was traded last summer to Philadelphia and went to training camp there but was waived by the 76ers.

Etc.

• Original Timberwolf Tony Campbell received a standing ovation from the Target Center audience when he was introduced during a first-quarter timeout. He was in town Monday as part of the team’s 25th anniversary season celebration this year.

• Gophers coach Richard Pitino attended the game and was introduced during a second-quarter timeout.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Brooklyn 109 FINAL
Boston 107
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Orlando 89
Indiana 109 FINAL
Detroit 119
Milwaukee 107 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Houston 117 FINAL
Memphis 111
San Antonio 90 FINAL
New Orleans 97
Charlotte 75 FINAL
Oklahoma City 98
LA Lakers 98 FINAL
Dallas 102
Minnesota 102 FINAL
Denver 106
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Portland 114
Phoenix 115 FINAL
Sacramento 106
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 12/27/14 1:10 PM
Duke
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close