With the incredibly long arms and legs of many of today’s NBA stars, elbows can turn into weapons.
On Wednesday night, that’s exactly what happened when Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee caught a pass and quickly squared up his body to shoot the ball. Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love was right in his face and caught an inadvertent elbow to the side of the head. Love laid on the floor for several minutes before being helped to the locker room, unable to leave under his own power.
UPDATE: Sunday, April 22 at 6:20 p.m. ET
Kevin Love (concussion) has been medically cleared to play, but will not return this season, according to Minnesota Star Tribune's Kent Youngblood.
Repeat: @wolves forward Kevin Love has been cleared by NBA to play, but will be held out of final two games.— Kent Youngblood (@BloodStrib) April 22, 2012
UPDATE: Wednesday, April 18 at 7:22 a.m. ET
So there is a bit of good news in Minnesota--even though their season is coming to a close.
Superstar Kevin Love is trying to get back onto the court before season's end and will start NBA-mandated testing to prove he is concussion free. Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune reports:
Timberwolves forward Kevin Love stopped by Tuesday's game against Memphis and said he will begin NBA-mandated testing Wednesday with the hope he can prove he is concussion-free in time to play the season's final two games ... Love said he expects to pass a series of advancing tests he must pass to prove he is symptom-free and said he wants to play Sunday against Golden State and April 26 against Denver.
He also said he is aware there's no need to push matter given the nature of his injury.
It would be great for T-Wolves fans see their star player back on the court, but it is also good that he knows there is no need to rush it.
Best case scenario: Love takes to the court Sunday. Worst case: he's done for the year. Either way, the season ends a week from tomorrow on Thursday, April 26.
UPDATE: Tuesday, April 17 at 8:27 a.m. ET
Kevin Love could be out for the remainder of the season, according to Minnesota Star Tribune's Kent Youngblood.
"Wolves coach Rick Adelman had no update on Kevin Love(concussion), whose return this season is looking doubtful."
Update: Friday, April 13 at 7:45 a.m. ET by Adam Wells
Love's season may not have the feel-good ending that fans and analysts were looking for. Now that he has been diagnosed with a concussion, there is no telling when he will be back on the court, according to Joan Niesen of Fox Sports.
Right now, there's no way to pinpoint a time frame, and the concussion policy states that testing and evaluation will vary by situation. So until then, the Timberwolves will have to salvage whatever they can from this season, relying on role players to step up.
With the Timberwolves on losing nine of their last 10 games to fall out of the playoff race in the western conference, you have to wonder what the rush would be to try and get Love back on the court for a game or two.
Given the nature of head injuries, the team would be better off saying that Love is done for the year and gear up to make a run next season.
Update: Thursday, April 12 at 8:07 a.m. ET by Eric Bowman
Kevin Love went to the hospital and stayed their over night after he took an elbow to the head. The Associated Press (via USA TODAY) reports the latest on Love's health.
The Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward sustained a mild concussion and neck strain after a hit to the head against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. He was kept overnight at an area hospital for precautionary reasons.
Its uncertain just how long Love will be out, but the Timberwolves have to play it safe here.
Should Kevin Love Sit Out the Rest of the Season?
Barring a major collapse from multiple teams, Minnesota won't be going to the postseason this year. The Timberwolves are currently seven and a half games back from the eighth place Denver Nuggets.
Still, they want to win, especially considering they're on a seven game losing streak. They've yet to win in the month of April, but if Love is unable to go for the next couple of weeks, it will be hard for Minnesota to win.
Hes the star of the team, and without him the Timberwolves just aren't as good. Stay tuned as we keep you updated with news as it comes.
According to Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post, he would not return to the game:
Official release from the #Nuggets: Love has a head injury and will not return— Benjamin Hochman (@nuggetsnews) April 12, 2012
This is a devastating blow to the slim playoff hopes of the Timberwolves, who found themselves 6.5 games out of the final playoff spot entering play Wednesday. This might be the nail in the coffin.
Love was averaging an NBA-best 28.8 PPG since the All-Star break and was making a strong case to be a first-team All-NBA selection. For the season, Love has averaged 26.5 PPG and is second in the league in rebounding at 13.5 a game.
So, will Love miss any additional games?
Considering it was a sharp elbow to the temple, a concussion is certainly a possibility. With the team's playoff hopes already looking bleak, it’s likely Minnesota is going to err on the side of caution with their franchise center.
It’s a tough blow to a team that already lost star guard Ricky Rubio to a torn ACL earlier this season.
Check back, as we’ll update you with the latest on Love when more information becomes available.