Just five games after returning from a broken hand, Cavaliers big man Kevin Love suffered a gruesome facial injury minutes into Cleveland’s 98-79 loss to the Miami Heat and did not return. When evaluated at halftime, Love displayed concussion-related symptoms, per Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, and was officially ruled out for the remainder of the game.
It’s been a rough calendar year for Love. The 29-year-old center broke his hand on Jan. 30 against the Pistons and missed 17 games — roughly six weeks — before returning March 11. The Cavaliers went just 9-8 without Love. Since his return, though, the Cavaliers were 4-0 — including a home win over East-leading Toronto — before the loss to the Heat. Love averaged 20.3 points and 10 rebounds per game during that stretch, and Cleveland as a team had averaged over 124 points per game in Love’s four full games back.
If Love misses extended time for the second time this season, Cleveland will have to adjust its rotation once again. It will likely mean more minutes for Larry Nance Jr., Jeff Green and Tristan Thompson moving forward. The Cavaliers, who are currently without head coach Ty Lue due to health concerns, can also go small and play LeBron James at the center position.
The Cavaliers return to action Wednesday night against Charlotte.