Love set for final follow-up with hand surgeon

MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Love will travel to New York on March 13 for what should be his final follow-up with hand surgeon Michelle Carlson at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Love said that he will meet with Carlson and undergo some hand therapy while in New York before flying to meet the Timberwolves in Houston for their March 15 game against the Rockets. Don’t expect another surprise return, though, he said; even if he is cleared, he’s going to take some time to ease his way back into the game.

Love’s hand is still visibly swollen after his Jan. 15 surgery that repaired two broken metacarpals in his right hand, but Love said that now, seven weeks out, he’s still on schedule with his recovery. There’s still scar tissue and swelling built up in the hand, but Love did not seem too worried about it going down before he makes his debut.

Love says that he does hand therapy whenever he can, even when he’s doing something as simple as sitting on the Timberwolves bench. He squeezes a rubber ball, stretches and does strengthening exercises, and he’s working on wrist mobility and strength after having a small bone removed there, as well. There are still pins in his right hand from his surgery, he said, but if he regains full range of motion, he won’t have them removed. (His left hand still has three pins in it from a 2009 injury.)

“More than anything, it’s just stiff,” Love said. “It doesn’t really hurt. It’s just stiff, and range of motion isn’t quite there yet.”

The power forward, who broke his right hand for the second time this season on Jan. 3, started taking shots for the first time since the injury on Feb. 27 in Los Angeles. He traveled with the team on its three-game trip to Phoenix, Los Angeles and Portland, and he’s been ramping up his activity in recent days.

Love said he’s been shooting progressively more and that the day after doing so, his hand still tightens. There’s still progress to be made before he’s ready to make his comeback, but when asked if he and Chase Budinger, who’s hoping to return in two to three weeks, might time their returns to the same night, Love said he hopes to be back sooner than three weeks from now. 

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