Kevin Love, who suffered a concussion in Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, returned to the court ever-so-briefly during the portion of Cleveland’s practice that was open to reporters on Thursday afternoon.
The Akron Beacon Journal reported that Love is expected to play in Game 4, most likely coming off the bench.
He kocked down a barrage of shots a day after the Cavaliers crushed the Warriors, 120-90, in Game 3 with Love sidelined.
NBA players with concussions sit out an average of five to eight days. Love suffered his concussion on Sunday. Five days from that diagnosis? Friday. Eight days? Next Monday. Those two dates just happen to be when Games 4 and 5 are, respectively.
If Love does come off the bench during Game 4, that’ll be a five-day span from diagnosis to return.
Head injuries aren’t anything to mess around with, but that hasn’t stopped at least a few people from criticizing Love for sitting out.
Take Gilbert Arenas for example.
In a now-deleted expletive-laden Instagram post, Arenas said, “…you missing game (3) becuz of a concussion? DAWG this aint football u have a better chance hitting 60 tonight then getting elbow in the head again…” (Arenas’s full post can be found here, but be warned, it’s really offensive and totally NSFW.)
“The Warriors can isolate Love, track him down in pick-and-roll situations and hammer him,” CBS Sports’ Matt Moore wrote. “Speed by him with Stephen Curry. Power past him with Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala. Hammer him with bigs. Force help, create space and exploit the matchup.”
Mashable’s Sam Laird said Golden State’s Draymond Green was outplaying Love.
Love left Game 2 on Sunday night early in the second half with concussion-like symptoms. If you’re thinking that excuses him here, though, you’re sadly mistaken. Through a game and a half, Love had already been badly outplayed by Draymond Green, the Warriors’ bulldog of a power forward.
The same night Love left early, Green put up 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a 33-point Warriors blowout. To be clear: Possible concussions are serious matters, and we’re not saying Love should have stayed in. But the two player’s vastly different nights reflected a larger truth.
“Before Kevin Love exited the game with concussion symptoms, he suffered from Draymond Green symptoms,” wrote Cleveland.com‘s Chris Haynes after Game 2.
With Love in the mix for Game 1 and part of Game 2, the Cavaliers lost by 48 points combined. Those 48 combined points mark the biggest blowout in NBA Finals history. Of course, that’s not entirely on Love, but going 9 for 24 leaves something to be desired.
Despite the outside criticism, the Cavaliers are eager for Love to return to the court.
Tyronn Lue said Thursday that Love is “eager to play. He wants to play.”