Cleveland Cavaliers star forward Kevin Love is said to be targeting a return in mid-January after having surgery on an injured foot.
Per Joe Vardon of The Athletic, the player had a consultation with Dr. Martin O'Malley in New York on Monday and is now eyeing a comeback sometime around the aforementioned.
Vardon also reports that the Cavs are planning to play the 30-year-old when he returns, despite their hopes of locking down a premium draft slot next year.
Love had fluid drained from the base of his left big toe by O'Malley early last month, and the physician also extracted some cartilage. His scans returned positive on Monday and he now has plans to step up his workouts over the next three to four weeks. What he doesn't plan to do, though, is return before he's ready.
"There's just no telling at this time with the weight-bearing injury what it is going to be like moving forward, but I expect to be back sometime after the new year," the player told Rachel Nichols on The Jump last month. But his latest visit has led him to confirm that he will be back playing again in around six weeks' time.
Meanwhile, new Cavaliers head coach Larry Drew expects to see significant improvement when Love gets back.
“I think we’ll be a lot better,” he said. “Kevin has been our go-to guy, and we haven’t had that all season long. … And then Kevin gives us, not taking anything away from our other big guys, but he’s our No. 1 post priority and we haven’t had that all year. That makes it tough.
“With a healthy Kevin Love in our lineup we’re a much better basketball team.”
What This Means
Love had very different expectations when he signed a $120 million deal with the Cavs after LeBron James' left on the back of last season's finals disappointment. The five-time All-Star committed his future to the team with the understanding that they would not target a rebuild and would try to remain competitive without King James.
Some months later, the organization is heading in a different direction and they're now looking forward to the acquisition of a top draft pick. Ironically, however, Love's summer injury is probably what prompted the team to take this path.