CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers have been without the services of power forward Kevin Love since the middle of February because of surgery to remove a loose body from his left knee ahead of the NBA All-Star Game.
But Love’s time on the shelf may be coming to an end soon.
“I feel good,” Love said after Wednesday’s practice. “As you can see, I’m a little winded, and I imagine it’ll be even more so just getting back after four weeks, five weeks, whatever it may be. Other than that, I feel good. I’ve just got to get my legs underneath me and let that adrenaline pass whenever I go out there and get my wind back.”
Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love closing in on return from knee surgery
The key for Love is continuing to gradually increase his workload without cheating the process and taking a shortcut.
“You always take the right steps,” Love said. “I got with our training staff and have done all of the right things. I got the proper rest, got the strength back, so now, it’s just getting out there. We don’t practice a lot, but just getting out there and going one-on-one in certain drills, three-on-three as much as you can, and that eventually leads up to game reps. I think that’s what we’re looking at now.”
Initially, when Love had the surgery done at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City on Valentine’s Day, the timetable for his return was six weeks. But just beyond the four-week mark, Love believes he will be back on the floor for game action during the upcoming road trip.
“I always like to think that way, be optimistic about it, do all the right things, but you’ve got to listen to the docs, especially when we’re a team that’s looking to go very far, go all the way and has championship aspirations,” Love said. “You definitely want to come back when you’re ready and have the proper rest, have the proper healing time.”
Now in his third season with Cleveland, Love averaged 20.0 points, 11.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 0.9 steals over 31.9 minutes of play in 46 games. With his shooting percentages up from the field, three-point range and free-throw line over the previous two years with the Cavaliers, Love raised his offensive productivity by nearly four points per game.
“In years past, maybe, but I’ve been with this team long enough to know where I fit,” Love said of integrating back into the lineup. “I’ve been at the games. Even going to get my surgery in New York, I didn’t miss any games, and always watch them even if I’m not there.
“I think it’ll be pretty easy for me to come back in. I just don’t want to mess up any of the rhythm that these guys have, and will just go back in and play our brand of basketball.”