There is not a lot to play for right now in Minnesota.
The Timberwolves have been eliminated from the Playoffs. Their lightning rod point guard has been shelved for the last month and a half of the season. The good vibes have worn down. And, making matters worse perhaps, their star player suffered a concussion late in the season.
With nothing to play for, it seems to make sense that Minnesota will pack it in for the year, make sure their investments for the future are protected and thank the fans in some measure for making the Target Center rock again. The Timberwolves do not even have their own draft pick, having dealt it to the Clippers and finding its way into the Hornets’ hands.
It would seem there isn’t even a lot to lose for Minnesota in its final three games.
Well, there is one thing they could lose. A worsening of Love’s concussion injury or some other catastrophic injury to Minnesota’s superstar power forward.
Concussions are not like nagging knee injuries or constantly sprained ankles. It is a difficult condition to diagnose, to treat and to prevent. But one thing everyone does know is that having a concussion makes a player more susceptible to having a second one. So why risk having Love go back out there?
Maybe in this age of tanking and giving up seasons for star draft picks, professional pride still means something. Kevin Love is not satisfied with his 55 games played and a career-best 26.0 points per game and 13.3 rebounds per game. Love wants to finish the season in front of his team’s fans and play in Minnesota’s final two games, both at the Target Center starting Sunday.
It seems Love is not willing to go out into the night quite yet despite an easy excuse to do so. But Love still has a lot of work to do.
As Zgoda said Wednesday, Love had been experiencing headaches and light sensitivity until yesterday and finally felt good enough to begin the NBA’s post-concussion procedures. These can take anywhere from 3-5 days to fully complete as it will require Love to go through several exercises and then get retested. Should he be able to pass them, he would be in line to return to the court Sunday.
Minnesota fans have to appreciate the effort Love is going through to try and be ready for this season’s final two home games. Again, considering how bad some of his symptoms appeared to be, you would not blame him for packing it in for the year and focusing solely on his treatment and getting better.
But Love is a gamer. And there are still games to be played. Hopefully it won’t be a decision Love or the Timberwolves regret.