Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love was back on the practice court taking mid-range jump shots Friday, four weeks after fracturing a bone in his left hand.
He is optimistic that he will return to game action before the team’s stated eight-week recovery timeline expires.
“If I can get back before eight weeks, great,” Love said Friday. “I’m hoping that is the case.”
Love has missed 12 games since breaking his hand Jan. 30 against the Detroit Pistons. During that time, Cleveland completely overhauled its roster by dealing away six players and bringing in four more at the trade deadline.
The Cavaliers have 21 games remaining in the regular season. Should Love beat his recovery timeline by two weeks, he could still have 13-14 games to try to get acclimated with the Cavs’ new personnel before the playoffs begin.
Love is one of four remaining members of the Cavs’ 2016 championship team, along with LeBron James, JR Smith and Tristan Thompson. He believes that core gives the new-look Cavs enough experience to put things together quickly for a deep postseason run.
“Between ‘Bron and myself, JR and Tristan, we have guys who have been here and know exactly what to expect moving forward,” Love said. “So it’s on us to bring everybody along and have veteran guys push maybe the younger guys or the new guys through the process.
“Having some new blood and some new faces in some ways can be a good thing because they’re going to be very hungry and want to get on that quick learning curve to make it so we have a big run.”
Smith returned to the team Friday, and according to Lue, will resume his role as the starting shooting guard when the Cavs host the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. Smith opted to not speak to the media on Friday.
Lue said he had “a little discussion” with Smith on Friday and wouldn’t get into who issued the suspension.
Cleveland lost 108-97 to the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday when Smith served his suspension.
Rodney Hood, starting in place of Smith, scored 11 points on 5-for-14 shooting against the Sixers, with five rebounds and five assists.
Lillard finished with 35 points after a slow start and the Portland Trail Blazers rallied to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 108-99 on Thursday night for their season-high fifth straight win.
Lillard missed all seven shots from the field in the opening Cheap Jerseys Wholesale quarter.
“I was just missing. I was missing a lot of shots short, kept hitting the Cheap Kids Baseball Jerseys front of the rim. When it was leaving my hands it felt good. I just knew I had to shoot the ball it a little bit higher,” he said. “I really wasn’t worried about it, honestly.”