Kevin Love in Concussion Protocol, Status for Finals Game 1 vs. Warriors Unclear

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2018

FILE - In this Friday, May 25, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love sits on the court while holding his head during the first half of Game 6 of the team's NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics in Cleveland. Love injured his head in Game 6 and his status for Game 7 remains unclear. Love banged heads with Boston rookie Jayson Tatum in the first quarter and sat out the second half of Cleveland’s 109-99 win as a precaution. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)
Ron Schwane/Associated Press

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is in the concussion protocol, and his status for Game 1 of the NBA Finals is uncertain.

Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters Tuesday he's "not sure" if Love will play in Game 1 against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

Love missed Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics after suffering a concussion on a head-to-head collision with Jayson Tatum in Game 6.

Love played just five minutes in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals before exiting. Jeff Green and Larry Nance Jr. combined to play the rest of the game at power forward.

Green got the start in Game 7 and performed well with 19 points and eight rebounds. He was Cleveland's second-leading scorer in the game behind only LeBron James.

When healthy, Love has struggled to find an offensive rhythm in this year's playoffs with only 13.9 points per game. He is also shooting just 38.8 percent from the field.

During the regular season, Love was an All-Star who averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest while shooting 45.8 percent from the floor.

If Love is unable to play in Game 1, Green will likely be called upon to start once again with Nance seeing plenty of action for defensive purposes.

Tristan Thompson would likely continue to start at center as well after taking over for Love at that spot during the playoffs.

Given Golden State's high-octane offense, playing without Love would put the Cavs at a disadvantage.

In addition to Love's rebounding ability, he is capable of knocking down threes at an impressive rate when he gets hot, and that could be the type of supporting offense Cleveland needs in order to take down the Warriors for the second time in three seasons.

Provided Love sits out Game 1, there will be added pressure on the likes of Kyle Korver and JR Smith to knock down the open shots created by James.


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