Late Wednesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced that Kevin Love underwent successful surgery on his injured left shoulder that will keep him out of action for the next four-to-six months. The team will, in turn, have to proceed through the rest of the NBA Playoffs with no hope of his return.
The second Kevin Love sprinted towards the locker room without stopping, it was easy to fear the worst. All glimmer of hope was erased when David Griffin told said it would be highly unlikely that Love would be returning for the playoffs at all.
Going into the playoffs and for much of the season it has been a question of effort level and how well this Cavs team could face adversity. Playing a scrappy Boston squad seemed to bring out good qualities from the team, and it seems like the loss of Love is making them stronger as a unit. David Griffin believes they can handle it.
“Our team has dealt with adversity really, really well,” Griffin said Wednesday before adding, “and we have a lot of grown-ass men in that locker room who know what they need to do and I’m counting on them to do it.”
LeBron James still seems determined but a little less confident saying, “We all have to pick our games up…Kevin is special for a reason.”
There was some question about whether Kevin Love could try and play with a bum shoulder and delay surgery, but this is probably the best move for Kevin Love’s long-term health and career. Still it does little to answer the remaining question for Cavs fans. After this four-to-six month period what team will Kevin Love be on? If you ask the man himself he will still be a Cavalier.
In one of the more under-discussed quotes from Tuesday’s address, David Griffin said “I think [Kevin] realizes we could potentially be very good into the future and he’s excited to be a part of that too.”
Despite all of these signs, as long as there is no ink on paper Cavalier fans will not have to look hard to find reason to be skeptical. If you believe the Boston media, he will be rehabbing with the Celtics, getting frequent apologetic visits from Kelly Olynyk himself. If you believe the national basketball media conspiracy, Love will be rehabbing with the Lakers, giving high-fives (his good hand) to Russell Westbrook. Another question is how will this season and this injury affect his free-agent value? While it is a fact that the Cavaliers are a better team with Kevin Love, he did not meet everyone’s expectations this year as part of a “Big Three.”
Only one question truly remains: Will other league GMs count on an injured Love as a max-contract player, and will Kevin Love even give them the chance before deciding to stay with the Cavaliers?