Just when Kevin Love was getting ready to try to salvage something positive from a lost seasons, one more injury cropped up to end it all.
A few days after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Love vowed to come back stronger than ever from a massively disappointing season for him and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
”This was supposed to be such a big year for us and myself and everybody included in this organization,” Love said on Saturday before the Wolves hosted the Suns. ”It (ticks) me off in a lot of ways.”
Coming off of a breakout season in the NBA and playing a pivotal role in Team USA’s run to the gold medal in London, Love was poised to vault into the elite in this league, and take the Timberwolves with him.
But he broke his right hand twice — once just before the season started and then again in early January — and was limited to just 18 games. And as he was preparing to return after having surgery on his hand in January, Love felt discomfort in his left knee that prevented him from running in workouts.
The decision was made for him to have surgery, which ended any chance of him returning to the court. Doctors removed some built-up scar tissue in the knee on Wednesday, and he expects to be back up to full speed in about a month. He’ll have a full summer to work out and prepare for next season, and Love plans to take full advantage.
"You never want to have a season like this," Love said. "Who would have thought coming into this that I would have two broken hands and had to have surgery and now this. The best part about it is I’ll have a clean bill of health now and I’ll be ready to go in a month."
Love averaged 18.3 points and 14 rebounds in his 18 games, and the Wolves also dealt with injuries to Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Andrei Kirilenko, Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger as they watched another season swirl down the drain.
Love endured some angst from the fans, both for some critical remarks he made about the organization shortly after returning to the court for the first time and for a career-low 35.2 shooting percentage.
After spending all last summer with Team USA, Love will have this one to himself. He plans to throw himself into workouts with trainer Rob McClanaghan to get himself back to where he was before this season.
"I’ve always prided myself on being a pretty ambitious kid," Love said. "That’s part of the reason I’ve been where I’m at today. You can always get better, you can always push forward."
The Wolves haven’t made the playoffs since 2004, something Love fully expects to change next season when everyone returns healthy.
"I’m definitely looking forward to that and I know this team is hungry," Love said. "I’m hungry myself. The only thing we can do now is just look towards the future."