All-Star power forward Kevin Love injured the thumb on his left hand, the same hand that got broken earlier in the regular season, during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 100-97 Game 2 win over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. While the injury initially brought concern to the Cavs’ fans and supporters, head coach Tyronn Lue said that the five-time NBA All-Star is “ready to go” in Game 3 on Friday.
According to a report by ESPN, Love suffered the injury with 3:43 remaining in the game as he tried to deflect a pass to Pacers shooting guard Victor Oladipo, whom he was defending on a one-on-one defensive assignment. The 29-year-old big man reportedly went to the bench at once to find treatment and was no longer sent back by Lue.
After the game, Lue told reporters that the five Cavs players he had on the floor during crunch time “had a good flow going,” so he decided to keep Love on the bench.
Love broke his left hand in a game versus the Detroit Pistons in January. The injury sidelined him for six weeks and 21 games before he came back on March 19 in a home game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Bleacher Report’s Rob Goldberg said that the former UCLA star has “struggled with injuries all year long” as “he has also dealt with a tooth injury and concussion symptoms” since returning from the hand fracture.
Love ended up playing only 59 games in the recently concluded regular season. He averaged 17.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 28.0 minutes per game for the Cavs, shooting a career-high 88 percent from the free throw line.
Despite his recent injury struggles, he is still considered as the Cavaliers’ second-best player behind LeBron James. Love missing significant time in the current playoffs “could affect the remainder of the series,” even the team’s entire postseason campaign, ESPN said.
Should the thumb injury get worse, the Cavaliers have Tristan Thompson and Ante Zizic as potential backups at the center position while Larry Nance Jr. could provide support at the power forward spot. Last week, Cleveland signed back veteran big man Kendrick Perkins for the rest of the postseason as another potential frontcourt reinforcement.