More than two months ago, Cleveland Cavaliers star forward Kevin Love had surgery to relieve pain and pressure in his big left toe. He planned to be back in action sometime in 2019, but that timeline is being pushed back, it seems.
Love spoke with reporters Monday after practice and said it is looking more like he may return closer to the All-Star break.
“I don’t know,” Love said. “It’s really tough for me to say because I don’t know how my foot is going to respond. I didn’t know what the doctor was going to say in New York, but I think just if I’m feeling good and I progress well than hopefully it will be sooner rather than later. I just don’t know when it’s going to be.”
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) January 7, 2019
Love suffered his injury in the Cavs’ preseason opener. On Nov. 2, he had surgery to remove remove cartilage and have fluid drained from the base of his left big toe by Dr. Martin O’Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
At the time, the team said Love would be out at least six weeks and his status would be updated in “approximately” when that period ended. Love said in an interview on ESPN in mid-November that he expects “to be back sometime after the new year.” Love said he’s going to in a restrictive boot for two more weeks.
Per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, Love had a follow-up appointment with his doctors in New York last Wednesday. At that point, Love said he would be able to increase his therapy and add a few more basketball activities. He said Monday he was happy with what he heard from his doctor in terms of his progress from the injury.
That’s never really been the thought process — at least for me. I know going out there, I want to play. I want to be out there with those guys.”
Kevin Love, on not want to shut himself down for 2018-19
Overall, Love has taken a slow-but-steady approach to his rehab work.
“I think just kind of go with the symptoms,” Love said. “Like if I’m feeling anything we’ll just kind of keep it at that pace, just a progression from here. But I think I’ll get more of an idea of that over the next couple weeks and then from there there will be even more progression and get out on the court. I don’t know when I’ll be able to go one on one, two on two, three on three, but I think that’s all part of the next few weeks I’d say.”
A five-time All-Star, Love signed a four-year, $120 million contract extension this summer. He said Monday he has no plans of shutting himself down for 2018-19.
“That’s never really been the thought process — at least for me,” Love said. “I know going out there, I want to play. I want to be out there with those guys. I feel like I would be letting my teammates down and letting LD (Larry Drew) and the coaching staff down if I didn’t get out there and play and get out there and play as soon as I could so long as I’m healthy.
“I would just hope to come back whether it be right before All-Star break, after All-Star break just things to start trending in the right direction and give the fans and this organization some hope for better times that are going to be here.”
In addition, his name has circulated in some trade rumors. By rule, Love can’t be traded until Jan. 24 — which is six months after he signed his new deal with Cleveland.
“I would love to be here,” Love said. “Would just love to get through a whole season healthy just because I’ve had nagging things that have taken time and been a little bit unlucky, but I would like to play ball here.”
Love, who has played in four games this season, is averaging 19 points and 13.5 rebounds per game in 2018-19.
The Cavs are an NBA-worst 8-32 and have already matched last season’s loss total. They have lost nine straight games and have lost by an average of 28.7 points in their last three home games. They rank last in opponent field goal percentage in the paint (59.4 percent) and 28th in opponent effective field goal percentage on shots from outside the paint (51.7 percent).
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.