Cleveland’s "Big 3" has been reduced to a twosome for the rest of the playoffs.
Cavaliers forward Kevin Love has "extensive" damage in his left shoulder and will likely miss the remainder of the postseason.
Cavs general manager David Griffin said Tuesday the team is not expecting Love to return in the playoffs, one day after Cleveland announced one of their top players would miss at least the next series.
"This is not a situation where we are expecting that he will be available for any of this," Griffin said. "We are in the process of gathering information and seeing what the exact right next steps are and every option is on the table. Surgery is an option as well, if necessary. We’re going to continue to look at that, but I don’t want there to be any expectation on Kevin that he’ll be back.
"I think it would be a real surprise if he we were able to participate in the postseason. I’ve still got a sliver of hope very late, but highly unlikely."
Love, acquired by the Cavs last summer in a trade to join LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, was injured in Sunday’s series-sweeping win over Boston when he got tangled with Celtics center Kelly Olynyk while chasing a loose ball. Olynyk yanked down on Love’s arm, popping it from the socket.
Olynyk was suspended one game by the NBA for his actions. Griffin wouldn’t go as far as calling it a dirty play, but he made it clear that he doesn’t think it belonged in the game.
"It sickens me that a non-basketball play resulted in what it did," Griffin said. "But beyond that it’s very difficult to watch because it’s totally unnatural from a basketball perspective."
James knows the road to a title will be tougher without Love, who was playing in his first NBA postseason.
"Obviously, he brings so much to our team offensively and defensively. It’s a big blow for us. We’ve got to have guys step up. You never want to have one of your major role players out," James said. "Everyone has to pick up not what he was able to do, but they have to pick up what they are capable of doing."
The Cavs are waiting to see if they’ll play Chicago or Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference semifinals starting Monday. The Bulls lead the Bucks 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.
Cleveland will also be without starting guard J.R. Smith for the first two games of their next series. He was suspended two games by the league for striking Boston’s Jae Crowder in the head during Game 4.