Kevin Love injury update: Cavaliers star may not return until All-Star break

It looks like even Kevin Love isn’t certain on when he’ll return.

Although the Cleveland Cavaliers forward was originally given a return date of mid-January regarding the toe surgery he underwent in November, it appears that’s not accurate at all. According to the veteran forward, he might not return to the Cavaliers’ lineup until after the All-Star break, via Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

“Sounds like Kevin Love has moved (way) off his own goal of returning to the Cavs in mid-January. He even threw out “right before All-Star break, after All-Star break.” Twice, he’s told The Athletic he was targeting the middle of this month for a return following toe surgery in November.”

“It’s really tough for me to say because I don’t know how my foot is going to respond,” Love said. “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 then hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.”

Long story short, Love’s recovery from toe surgery has gone along a lot slower than anyone expected. There is no way he is returning in mid-January when the Cavaliers start a six-game Western Conference swing which begins this Wednesday. Furthermore, if you read deeper into Vardon’s article, he speculates that Love’s injury — along with other Cavs players’ injuries — have progressed a lot slower than one would anticipate. This is worth thinking about because the Cavs are the worst team in the NBA and maybe — just maybe — the players see no sense of urgency in returning to play for the worst team in the league, so they allow their injuries to drag out a lot longer than it should.

Despite entering the season as a playoff hopeful, those dreams were shot down at the very beginning of the campaign when they started out 0-6 and fired Tyronn Lue — the coach who had led them to their lone NBA title in franchise history and the past three Finals series.

Since then, while Cleveland has had young players such as Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman show tremendous potential, they’ve just progressively gotten worse. At one point in time, Cleveland at least showed heart and battled in games. Now, they’re just laying over and getting blown out. They’ve lost nine consecutive games with five straight coming in contests where they’ve lost by at least 20 points.

And if you thought last year’s defense was bad, this one takes the cake for the worst. Cleveland currently has a 116.1 defensive rating — if that stands, that would be the worst in league history.

As far as Love is concerned, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be traded before the deadline. However, he becomes valuable trade bait over the summer when teams whiff on the top free agents and still have their sights on improving their championship aspirations by acquiring an All-Star forward such as Love.

Considering the Cavaliers have a 14 percent chance at nabbing the top overall pick as long as they have one of the three worst records in the NBA, I’m sure they don’t mind if Love sits out as many games as possible.

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