At the time, the play looked bad, as Love appeared to get tangled up with Nuggets forward Andre Iguodala and immediately grimaced in pain. But nobody expected the news about Love's injury to be quite so dire.
Of course, coach Rick Adelman may have known more than he was letting on in his postgame interviews, according to Hardwood Paroxysm:
When Adelman said in Denver post-game Love couldn't shoot at all, that probably should have been a sign.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) January 5, 2013
The Timberwolves power forward had been struggling through the worst shooting season of his career after initially breaking the same hand on Oct. 17. So while it's never a good thing when a team loses its best player, Love clearly wasn't himself after coming back from the first break. And the repetition of the injury certainly raises questions about whether Love rushed back:
In text, Love says his hand "never really got right" after his return from the initial break. "Now it'll have time to," he says.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) January 6, 2013
Looking ahead, Love's absence may provide a small blessing for the snake-bitten Wolves. According to hoopsworld.com, Minnesota will owe its first-round selection to the Phoenix Suns if it falls outside of the top 13. If Love's protracted absence causes the Wolves to slip into the lottery, they'll keep their pick in this year's draft.
Tanking is sort of a dirty word in the NBA, but in this instance, Love's injury could facilitate some beneficial losing down the stretch.
But maybe Minnesota isn't totally doomed without Love. After all, he was shooting just 35 percent from the field. How hard could that figure be to replace?
If the Timberwolves don't succumb to all the injuries they've suffered, maybe the few guys left standing will band together like the Chicago Bulls have without Derrick Rose this season. It's a long shot, but hey, anything's possible.
Silver linings aside, the mood in Minnesota right now has to be pretty gloomy. With Love potentially sidelined for a while, Ricky Rubio still missing games left and right and Brandon Roy's future up in the air, some folks are wondering about a potential curse in the Twin Cities:
Seems, unfortunately, black cloud that lived over Portland all those years came to Minny with Brandon Roy. Kevin Love re-broke his hand
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) January 5, 2013
Love's unlucky break is certainly bad news for him, personally, and nobody's happy about it in Minnesota. But because of the chance it creates for an "us against the world" mentality among the T-Wolves and the possibility it creates of retaining a valuable pick, it's not all bad.