Love Returning to Cavaliers

Lucky for Kevin Love, the pain in his surgically-repaired left shoulder has finally become manageable.  Now, however, the Cleveland forward now has to sit on the bleachers while the NBA Finals play themselves out.  Knocked from his first playoffs by injury during the opening round, Love spoke yesterday for the first time since undergoing an operation to repair the extensive damage caused after Kelly Olynyk of Boston yanked his arm from the socket.  So far, Love is happy with the progress of his recovery, and plans on being ready for the start of the next season.  And in Cleveland, of course.Todd Proa Kevin Love

Love has the choice to opt out of the one final year in his contract by the end of June, and either negotiate for a new deal with Cleveland or test the waters as a free agent.  As has been the case all season, Love has indicated that he has no intention of leaving Cleveland.  After losing 15 pounds during his recovery, Love has said that not being able to get on the floor with his teammates has been an emotionally difficult experience.  After six seasons playing in Minnesota, he finally made an appearance in the playoffs and appeared to be hitting his stride before Olynyk’s aggressive play put him out of commission in Game 4.  After this game, Love said he thought Olynyk had intentionally tried to hurt him, but says that he feels different now.

After Love was taken out of commission, the Cavaliers swept the Celtics and advanced without Love.  Cleveland went on to eliminate Chicago in six games, and then rolled over Atlanta in four to make the finals for the first time in 8 years.  Frustratingly for Love, he’s only served as a spectator for this, watching from the bench or on TV, an experience he’s called both difficult and humbling.  Love has been cleared to travel for the finals, and will be with his teammates for the first two games at Golden State.  After surgery, Love said it was a whole month before he got a good night’s sleep, and said that he’s been steadily increasing his exercise load during his recovery to get up his heart rate.

Lucky for Love, he’s been getting an outpouring of support from Cleveland fans, who have been giving him loud ovations whenever he’s been shown on the giant scoreboard during games.  So as not to expose his shoulder to any possible contact, he’s been relegated to the row behind the Cavaliers’ bench.  During the Cavaliers’ on-court celebration after sweeping the Hawks, however, one of Love’s teammates almost undid all of his rehab after good-naturedly hitting him on the shoulder.  But not foreseeing any additional brushes with injury, Love should be set to join his team in the upcoming season.

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