Love cleared to play, now it’s “up to him”

Posted on December 3rd, 2009 – 4:27 PM
By Mark Wollemann

Phil Miller, sitting in for Jerry Zgoda today, reports:

His doctors are satisfied and his coach is ready. Only one more person has to give Kevin Love the go-ahead before he returns to the Wolves’ lineup: Kevin Love.

“I could go out there and compete right now, but as far as going out and feeling good, I don’t know,” Love said shortly after his first full practice since being cleared to play. “It’ll be very soon. Whether it’s tomorrow or next week, we’ll have to see.”

Love, who had surgery on his left hand a few days after breaking a bone in mid-October, has been practicing all week. The hand feels fine — “It got crushed up against the backboard today and felt pretty good,” he said — but after an initial jolt of adrenalin a few days ago, he has begun to realize his limitations, the result of six weeks without strenuous contact on the floor.

“When I get tired, I want to be able to help the team as well, and I don’t know if I can do that right now,” Love said. The Wolves play Friday night in New Orleans, and while he’s not closing the door on facing the Hornets — “It all depends on how I feel at shootaround,” he said — Saturday’s game in Target Center against Utah “might be more realistic.”

The decision “is entirely up to him,” coach Kurt Rambis said. “He’s been doing a lot of running on the side. That’s a certain cardio vascular workout, but the wrestling aspect of basketball is always much more fatiguing. So he’s getting used to the body contact and the banging. He’s getting used to trusting his hand again.”

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