Ever since joining the Cleveland Cavaliers prior to the 2014-15 season, two things seem to stick with power forward Kevin Love: Trade rumors and injury woes.
From the time Boston Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk pulled his shoulder out of socket during the 2015 playoffs, Love has dealt with a handful of injuries over the past two-and-a-half seasons. While many of his missed games have been due to persistent back issues, a new injury seems to have crept into the fold as Love will miss Tuesday’s game in Minnesota against the Timberwolves after experiencing left knee soreness following Saturday’s win over the Denver Nuggets. He had an MRI, but the team did not disclose those results. Whether that’s a good sign or a bad thing is yet to be known.
Effusion is the medical term for what is commonly known as “water on the knee.” While common (among athletes) and can be drained, its the cause of the water that is the most important, ranging anywhere from bursa fluid to injured ligaments or meniscus. In most cases, the Cavs include MRI results with their press releases, so this is a bit of a deviation from the norm.
So far this season, Love is arguably playing his best basketball and seems to be the most comfortable he has ever been since joining the Cavs, leading to an All-Star berth. In 46 games thus far, the 28-year-old is averaging 20 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game while shooting 43 percent from the floor and 38 percent from long distance. He is also shooting a career-high 88 percent from the free-throw stripe. While LeBron James is playing much more than he should so far this season, Love is averaging 31.9 minutes per game, which is tied for the 10th most among power forward in the NBA.
Love has been one of the main reasons why the Cavs have been so successful the last few seasons. Whether it’s his play in the post, outside shooting, or rebounding, there’s a reason why the league considers LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Love as the Big Three.
With his latest injury and the team not making it known when Love will return after he will receive additional tests on his knee this week, the power forward’s status for next Sunday’s All-Star Game is uncertain. It would be his first appearance in the game since joining the Cavs, but the most important thing for he and the team are that he is healthy. If he has to sit out the game or if he isn’t 100 percent, here’s your reminder that games in April, May, and June, are much more important than a game in February, even if it is the All-Star Game.
While it is most important that he is healthy by the time the playoffs begin in April, are Love’s stockpiling of injuries becoming a concern? First it was his back, now it seems to be his knee. With a big guy like him, those two injuries could be worrisome farther down the road. That the team has been coy about the results won’t help ease the concern of skeptics.