Glen Taylor Addresses Love's Injury

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor spoke with the local media during halftime of the WNBA Finals at Target Center on Wednesday about Wolves forward Kevin Love, who suffered a broken right hand during a morning workout.

Love suffered a fracture of his third and fourth metacarpal and will be evaluated on Thursday by Dr. Andy Weiland, a hand specialist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. He’s expected to miss 6-8 weeks. The Wolves’ regular season opener against Sacramento is Nov. 2 vs. Sacramento.

Taylor said his initial reaction was to question why both Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, the cornerstones of the team, are both out with injuries—Rubio continues to rehab his left knee after suffering a torn ACL and LCL in March. But Taylor said between the roster has a collection of players who are capable of stepping in and playing a key role in Love’s absence.

“I would say Derrick Williams worked really hard this summer, said he wanted a chance to play and got himself into great shape,” Taylor said. “This is going to be an opportunity for him to get the playing time.”

He said Dante Cunningham, who played for Memphis last season, wanted more playing time and wanted to come to a team where he could see more minutes. He showed his efficiency during Tuesday’s preseason game against Maccabi Bazan Haifa, shooting 5-of-6, finishing with 11 points and four rebounds—two offensive—in 13 minutes of work.

Cunningham is another player Taylor said could step up and fill that role.

“These are both young, athletic guys who have a chance to step up,” Taylor said. “That’s going to have to be the plus in this type of thing. You always hate to lose someone like Kevin. First of all, you hate to lose anybody but certainly Kevin, who has been our leading scorer and rebounder, but my hope is the coach working with these players will make something positive out of it and a couple guys will step up and maybe lead the way, be a starter. Then Kevin will be back, which I think will just be a few weeks of playing time. Then we’ll be better prepared for the future.”

Taylor said he hasn’t spoken with coach Rick Adelman or President of Basketball Operations David Kahn yet, but he said the initial thought is to give the other players currently on the roster a chance at more playing time before looking outside the organization. But Taylor said all options are open, and the team will look at all possibilities.

Taylor said the key is to stay optimistic, particularly because of the talented free agents the Wolves brought in during the offseason. Shooting guard Brandon Roy is a proven scorer who has been aggressive and effective in the preseason. Small forward Andrei Kirilenko brings energy on both ends of the floor and a veteran defensive presence, while Chase Budinger provides sharpshooting on the wing and both Lou Amundson and Greg Stiemsma provide depth in the front court.

Add that group to breakout center Nikola Pekovic, a collection of capable point guards in Luke Ridnour and JJ Barea and a flashy rookie in Alexey Shved, and the Wolves have prepared themselves to have depth across the board with players who fill specific roles.

Losing Love creates a big hole on the floor—he averaged 26.0 points and 13.3 rebounds last year—but the Wolves have pieces in place to help lessen the blow in the early portion of the regular season.

“I think all our fans anticipated a season with great enthusiasm, and we knew we had to wait for Ricky and now we’re going to have two guys that we’re going to have to wait for for a month probably,” Taylor said. “But I’m going to be positive about it and say we’ve got some young guys and see them step up.”

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