Well, here we are again, Minnesota sports fans. In a fluke accident that involved knuckle push-ups, Kevin Love suffered a broken right hand while working out with personal trainer Rob McClanaghan at his condo on Wednesday. After a trip to New York to visit Doctor Andy Weiland, it was confirmed that Love broke the third and fourth metacarpals in his hand and the initial diagnosis of a 6-8 week recovery period was confirmed. K-Love commented on the shocking blow to a team that is already without Ricky Rubio in a release sent out by the Timberwolves:
“Yesterday I had a post-practice commitment and decided to work out at my home with my personal trainer before heading to Target Center,” he said. “While doing various pushups, including knuckle pushups, which are a part of my regular workout routine, I hurt my hand. I immediately knew something was wrong and called head athletic trainer Gregg Farnam.
“Although I’m disappointed that this injury happened, I will work extremely hard to stay in shape and return to the court as quickly as possible. We have added a lot of depth to our roster this season, and I have complete confidence in my teammates and coaching staff that they will step up and we will be successful during this time. I’m looking forward to supporting our team and helping out any way I can until I get back on the court.”
The Wolves have been predicted by many to be in an extremely competitive race for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference, and playing without Rubio and Love for upwards of two months could be enough to put the team in a hole to deep to get themselves out of once they get their two top players back. One thing is for certain: several players will have to step up big in order to keep this team afloat by the time mid-December comes, and a realistic – yet seemingly improbable – goal for the team will be to be sitting around .500 basketball by the time they get their two stars back.
David Kahn and Rick Adelman’s offseason moves will be in the spotlight for the first few months of the season, as newly acquired players Andrei Kirilenko, Brandon Roy, Dante Cunningham, Chase Budinger, Lou Amundson, and Greg Stiemsma will likely be called upon to provide much greater roles than initially expected. The biggest X-factors will include Nikola Pekovic and Derrick Williams, as both players will need to produce on the low-block at a much higher rate without K-Love as the focal point of the offense.
Love was certainly the best three-point option for the Wolves last year, and the team will now look largely to Roy and Budinger to provide perimeter shooting in place of Love’s prolific shooting. If Derrick Williams ever needed some serious adversity to elevate his game to the next level, well here it is. D-Will now has the opportunity to get the minutes he wants and a role that is vastly increased, and without Love Williams could assume a role very similar to the one he had at Arizona. If the former number 2 pick can prove that he can handle big minutes and provide inside-out scoring, it would be a tremendous help to a team in dire need for some leadership.
Andrei Kirilenko was initially seen as the starting SF with Love in the lineup, but he will likely move to PF with Williams operating at the 3. Both AK-47 and D-Will are tweener forwards, so they may very likely have interchangeable roles in the offense. Pekovic will now be the focal point of the offense in the post, and I am truly excited to see how the lean and extra mean Pek responds to an increase in touches.