The Cleveland Cavaliers may be looking at a major loss as Kevin Love was taken to the locker room with what may be a concussion.
The All-Star big man was woozy after slamming heads with Jayson Tatum early in Friday’s Game 6. As SB Nation reported, he was taken off to the locker room for evaluation with what may be a serious head injury.
The severity of Kevin Love’s Game 6 injury was not clear, but the immediate speculation was that he may have suffered a concussion. Love has dealt with concussion issues before, including missing Game 3 of the 2016 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors after taking an elbow to the back of the head from Harrison Barnes in the previous game.
If it is determined that Kevin Love suffered a concussion, he would face an uncertain road back to playing. As NBC Sports noted, the league has a detailed concussion protocol that starts with being able to stay at rest with concussion-related symptoms. Once that step is passed, the player is evaluated by a physician and then must successfully complete the league’s return-to-participation exertion protocol.
Finally, a team physician must discuss this return-to-participation process with the director of the NBA’s concussion program. There is no specific time frame to return from a concussion. In the 2016 NBA Finals, Love was able to return for Game 4 after suffering a concussion in Game 2, playing 25 minutes.
Whatever the outcome of Friday night’s prognosis, Kevin Love appeared to be in jeopardy of a serious injury. ESPN reporter Dave McMenamin reported that he was still being evaluated for a concussion more than 20 minutes after first being taken to the locker room.
Cavs source says Kevin Love is, "still being evaluated. Took a real hit." There's 6:29 remaining in the 2nd Q. He checked out with 6:58 remaining in the 1st Q.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 26, 2018
Kevin Love is headed to the locker room after a collision with Jayson Tatum. pic.twitter.com/OcbZp5WNrE— ESPN (@espn) May 26, 2018
Obviously if Kevin Love is diagnosed with a concussion, that will be a huge loss for the Cavs. He's an All-Star who has played in lots of high-stakes playoff games.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) May 26, 2018
The Cavaliers entered Game 6 needing a win to extend the series and make it one step closer to what would be their fourth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals, and the loss of their All-Star forward would put a major dent in those hopes. Love has been averaging 14.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game in the 2018 NBA Playoffs and has logged some major minutes. He has 29 or more minutes in all but one game during the playoffs. That task would become considerably more difficult if Kevin Love ended up being lost to an injury.
If there is not a positive update on Kevin Love’s injury, it would likely mean LeBron James has to shoulder an even bigger burden. As The Sporting News reported, James is already scoring 31 percent of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ points this postseason.