Minnesota was on pins and needles all off-season awaiting the results of Ricky Rubio’s progress recovering from a torn ACL. The excitement peaked this week when Rubio came out and started shooting jump shots with the team for the first time in months. Kevin McHale and the Minnesota top brass breathed a sigh of relief seeing their carefully assembled team finally healthy and ready to compete.
Yet, just 24-hours later that hope was dashed as Kevin Love broke the third and fourth fingers on his shooting hand. Love reportedly broke the fingers lifting weights in the morning. As of right now, he is projected to be out 6-8 weeks, which would put him returning between November 28 and December 12. This means he’ll miss 14 to 18 games. The even bigger concern is clearly that this is his shooting hand, something no one likes to tamper with under any circumstances.
The Timberwolves are essentially a team built around Love. He is the centerpiece to their offensive flow and both the 1-option offensively and the go-to player come crunch time. Most experts expect Minnesota to significantly struggle with Love out and Rubio less than 100 percent. This is a squad that cannot afford to have its two marque players on the bench.
To give some indication of how the Timberwolves suffer with Love out of the lineup, all we have to do is look at their performance in the 11 games he missed last season. The T-wolves went 2-9 without Love and scored only 90.6 points, down from 99.4 with him.
Optimistically, this could be the perfect opportunity for Brandon Roy to make his presence felt. Roy is a huge question mark.
He was once one of the best players and purest shooters in the game, but retired unexpectedly due to chronic knee issues. Eventually, Roy felt the itch to keep playing and many believe his shot is likely just as pure. But will his knees hold up? That is the big question.
With Rubio not back to 100 percent and Love sitting out the first month of the season, Roy could find himself more than simply a nice addition to the T-wolves bench, he could find himself called upon for much needed offense.
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