The Cleveland Cavaliers closed out their first-round series against the Boston Celtics Sunday with a 101-93 win, but instead of moving a step closer on their path to an NBA Championship, their title hopes got stamped with a giant question mark when Kevin Love dislocated his shoulder early in the first quarter after getting tangled up with Kelly Olynyk.
According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Love was none to pleased about the play and perceived it as intentionally malicious on Olynyk’s part.
Speaking of dirty plays, the old J.R. “Don’t call me Earl” Smith reared his ugly head later in the third quarter with a back-handed pimp slap on Jae Crowder that earned him a Flagrant 2 and automatic ejection. The hit sent Crowder to the ground, causing him to land awkwardly on his left leg. He sat out the rest of the game with a knee sprain.
It’s possible that the league will take a closer look at both of these incidents, and in Smith’s case, it seems particularly likely that he could face a fine and/or suspension.
For now, Love’s status remains uncertain, which is disheartening for the Cavs given that he was just starting to hit his stride this series after struggling to find a groove throughout most of the regular season. Through three games, he’d been averaging 18.4 points, nine rebounds, and three assists and was shooting better than 47 percent from behind the arc.
According to the team, Love will be re-evaluated at Cleveland Clinic Sports upon their return home, and further updates on his status should be forthcoming within the next day or two. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports has more on how much time Love could potentially miss, depending on the nature and severity of the injury.
“The average timeline for a return from a dislocated left shoulder is about four weeks — some returns are longer and some shorter depending on the severity of the injury.
“Certified athletic trainer Jeff Stotts said the best-case scenario for Love would be an acute dislocation with minimal damage to the surrounding soft tissue and an absence of 2-3 games. The worst case would be a dislocation with a significant torn labrum and the possibility of surgery.”
Until then, Cleveland will await the winner of the Bulls-Bucks series, which in all likelihood will be the Bulls, in which case they’ll need all the firepower they can muster to withstand Chicago’s defensive onslaught, not to mention the emergence of Jimmy Butler and the resurrection of Derrick Rose.