The Minnesota Timberwolves worked hard in the offseason to add talented vets and make the roster deeper and more able to withstand injuries.
Kevin Love’s broken right hand is about to put that depth to a serious test. The 2-time All-Star will miss the next 6 to 8 weeks after breaking his right hand in a workout.
During a workout before practice, Love broke the 3rd and 4th metacarpals on his shooting hand, the team announced. It’s a crushing blow to the Timberwolves, who already will be without star point guard Ricky Rubio for what’s expected to be at least the first 6 weeks of the regular season while he recovers from a torn ACL in his left knee.
The Timberwolves open the regular season at home against Sacramento on Nov. 2.
Love averaged 26 points and 13.3 rebounds last year, leading the team in both categories and emerging as the best power forward in the game. He confirmed a 4-year contract in January worth much more than $60 million, then played a major role in Team USA’s march to the gold medal in the London Olympics.
He returned to Minnesota in October brimming with confidence and announcing it was time for him to lead this team to the playoffs for the franchise’s 1st time since 2004. That already was meant to be a challenge in the powerful Western Conference without Rubio, the dynamic point guard who quickly became the glue that held this young team together before injuring his knee in a game against the L.A Lakers on March 9.
“We have a great training camp and we can get off to a good start and guys stay healthy, there’s really no telling what we are able to do,” Love said just before training camp opened. “I know lots of teams in the Western Conference have loaded up, but I still feel as if we can knock those teams off and have a really good year.” Football betting lines
Two weeks before the season has even started, the wishes for good health are already out the window. Love, who scored 24 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in a preseason win over Maccabi Haifa on Tuesday night, was lined up to fly to N.Y for an examination by Doctor Andy Weiland.
The injury probably means far more playing time for Derrick Williams, last year’s 2nd overall pick. With Love at power forward, Williams worked hard to shed some weight, re-form his body and work on his ball-handling to try to earn more minutes at small forward.
Williams has always been more comfortable at power forward, so this may be the chance for him to make a consistent impact that coach Rick Adelman has been waiting to see from him. Williams impressed coaches with his physical conditioning and aggressive approach to practice when training camp started, but the playing time has still been occasionally.
He played just 7 minutes on Tuesday night against Haifa while Adelman took longer looks at the starting unit and vet Dante Cunningham off the bench at power forward. Cunningham and Lou Amundson have both impressed Adelman with their tenacity and aggressiveness both in games and during practice.