MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kevin Love's face stayed straight the entire time. Asked repeatedly about the source of his broken right hand, the Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star insisted the story about knuckle push-ups gone wrong was true.
Even Love, though, understood the skepticism.
"I've heard everything," Love said. "But this isn't TMZ. This isn't People Magazine. I think most people are just looking for a story. For me, I know what happened. I'm not trying to get around it. I'm not trying to lie. That's just what happened."
Love spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time since his injury, which he described as "pretty much a freak accident" during a pre-practice workout with his personal trainer at his home on Oct. 17. He said he felt the swelling immediately, tried to perform another weight-bearing exercise and then rushed to see the team's athletic trainer before being sent to the hospital for X-rays that revealed two broken bones.
"I do different series of push-ups all the time. My hand just gave on me," Love said, "and it just broke."
The suggestion was made to Love that if he was seriously trying to cover up some bad or embarrassing behavior he would've created a more believable tale.
"I would have done some crazy story, the way my mind works. But I can't even think of anything better right now," Love said, wearing a white cast on his arm with a freshly shaved head that's part of a breast cancer fundraiser with NFL star Larry Fitzgerald.
The reason he waited a day after he was hurt to release a statement through the Timberwolves, Love said, was that he was too upset to think clearly. Hearing all the woe from fans about the franchise being cursed (Ricky Rubio is likely out for about two more months while recovering from his injured right knee) only made Love's mind spin more.
"I think the human instinct is to kind of take all the pressure and all the blame onto yourself," he said. "I think that's a large part of what happened. I do feel like I'm a big part of this team, and for me not to be out there the first few or several games, it kills me."
Love is supposed to be out for another four to six weeks. He said he's bracing for the longer end of the timetable, figuring a quicker return would simply be a bonus. If that's the case, he'll miss about a quarter of the season. Love broke his left hand in a preseason game three years ago and missed about six weeks that time.
The Timberwolves open without the NBA's premier power forward on Friday at home against Sacramento.
"I'm going to stay in shape as much as I can, and I'm just going to continue to stay with the team and keep being a leader," he said.
Love went back to his California home after the injury and addressed his teammates upon returning.
"You don't ever have to apologize for an injury. He didn't want this," shooting guard Brandon Roy said. "It's just our job to do the best we can early in the year and try to stay above float, because you know when we get him back we've got a really good team."
Coach Rick Adelman, naturally, said he was more concerned about players such as Derrick Williams, Dante Cunningham and Lou Amundson, who'll take Love's lost playing time.
"It is a big hole in our lineup, but we have guys that are going to commit to do their job, and we have to find a way to win," Adelman said. "That's just the way it is. A lot of teams are facing the same thing. We are no different."
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