After Kevin Love had his shoulder dislocated during a tangle with the Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk, it was obvious he would miss more than a game or two. Still, it came as a bit of a surprise today when the Cleveland Cavaliers issued a statement ruling him out for their upcoming series against the Chicago Bulls or Milwaukee Bucks.
Pertinent details of Cleveland’s release are below, courtesy of its website.
Evaluation and imaging have defined the extent of the injury: an acute anterior inferior glenohumeral dislocation with the corresponding ligament/labrum tearing and humeral head bone bruising. Currently, Love is undergoing training room treatments while additional opinions are being obtained and treatment options being explored. Love will be unavailable for the Cavaliers’ upcoming Conference Semifinal playoff series and an update regarding his status beyond that will be determined over the next several days.
This is a big, big blow for Cleveland and their championship hopes. For most of the season, Love was subjected to much of the same third-wheel criticism lobbed at Chris Bosh early in his Miami career with LeBron – the outcome of a first option transitioning to a third option, with the statistical decrease to go with it. But the Cavs are now dangerously thin in their frontcourt, with only Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov as legitimate rotation options.
Even more troubling, if the Bulls take care of business against the Bucks, they roll into the series boasting one of the best big man rotations in the game. With Derrick Rose occasionally flashing his old self, it was already going to be a tough series, but now the advantage may have swung the other way entirely.
Questions remain about whether Olynyk intentionally hurt Love – latter says yes, former says no – but they aren’t nearly as relevant as two big picture ones: Can the Cavs get through the next round without Love? And will he be ready, and effective, if they do?
Only time will tell/