Love has shoulder surgery, likely out 4-6 months
Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love underwent surgery on his dislocated left shoulder Wednesday afternoon, and he is projected to need four to six months to recover, the team announced.
The operation was performed by Dr. David W. Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, and Love’s rehabilitation will be conducted by the Cavs, according to the team.
Love, playing in his first postseason as a pro, was hurt when he got tangled with Boston Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk while chasing a loose ball in the first quarter of the Cavs’ closeout win Sunday. Olynyk clamped down on Love’s arm and pulled so hard that it popped out of the shoulder joint.
Kevin Love has played his last game for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. The question for him now is whether he has played his last game ever for the team.
Injuries and a suspension force the Cavs to look to their experienced yet seldom-used reserves to help overcome the adversity they knew was coming.
Love underwent an MRI and other tests Monday. His injury was officially listed as an acute anterior inferior glenohumeral dislocation with the corresponding ligament/labrum tearing and humeral head bone bruising.
The Cavaliers had mentally prepared themselves to be without Love for the remainder of the postseason, with general manager David Griffin saying Tuesday it was “highly unlikely” that the former All-Star would return.
Cleveland will face the Chicago Bulls-Milwaukee Bucks winner starting Monday.
Love was in his first season with Cleveland, which acquired him last summer in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The seven-year veteran struggled at times during a bumpy season with the Cavs. He can opt out of his contract this summer and become a free agent.
Griffin has expressed optimism about Love staying with the Cavs beyond this summer, however.
“We were playing at a tremendous level and getting the full extent of Kevin, so it’s very difficult to have that taken away from you,” Griffin said this week. “At the same time, I think he realizes we’re set up to potentially be pretty good in the future, and he’s excited about being part of that, too.”
In an interview with “The Dan Patrick Show” in March, Love said, “I plan on being a Cavalier either way,” when asked whether Cleveland’s postseason showing would factor into his decision-making process.
The surgery caps a tumultuous season for Love. He averaged the fewest points (16.4 per game) since his second season and the fewest rebounds (9.7) since he was a rookie while failing to make the All-Star Game for just the second time since 2010. The other season he missed it in that span, 2012-13, he played just 18 games because of a hand injury.
There also was tension between Love and coach David Blatt at times. Love was benched in the fourth quarter of games on several occasions, and there was the tricky balance of trying to find him post touches (which he clamored for in speaking to the media), while needing him to stretch the floor to open up driving lanes for Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. Blatt also said Love was “not a max player” after a loss to Sacramento in January, a comment he later clarified.
James and Love had their controversies as well, with James making reference on social media to Love trying to “fit out” back in February, and with Love telling ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike that he and James are “not best friends” and telling Patrick that same day that he would vote for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook over James for league MVP.
Still, Love was playing highly effective basketball at the start of the playoffs, averaging 18.3 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting 47.4 percent on 3-pointers through the Cavs’ 3-0 start against Boston.
Time will tell whether Love’s comments at his introductory news conference with Cleveland back in August will ring true.
“I’m committed to this team and committed long term to the end goal, and that’s to win championships and to win a championship here in Ohio,” Love said.
Information from ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin and The Associated Press was used in this report.