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Kevin Love out 6-8 weeks with broken hand

By Royce Young | NBA writer
Kevin Love could miss almost two months. (Getty Images)

A season with promise and expectation has already been dealt yet another blow.

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced Wednesday that star forward Kevin Love will be out 6-8 weeks because of a broken right hand. The team says the injury happened Wednesday morning during a workout.

To be specific, Love broke the third and fourth metacarpal bones in his right hand.

If you're wondering, 6-8 weeks in an NBA season is quite a long time. If he misses the high end of that, that's close to 20 games. Or a quarter of the season. For a team already missing Ricky Rubio as he comes back from knee surgery, the Wolves are facing a major early season uphill climb.

Love has emerged as a premier player, averaging 26.0 points and 13.3 rebounds per game last season. He's expanded his game to become a deadly 3-point shooter while maintaining his impressive work on the glass. The Wolves are essentially losing 26.5 percent of the points per game and more than 30 percent of their rebounding production. That's right, more than a quarter of their total points and rebounding.

What this means for the Wolves, a team with playoff aspirations this season, is that they have to keep their heads above water for the first month or two until Love and Rubio return.

It's also a pretty big opportunity for Derrick Williams to step up. The No. 2 overall pick in 2011, Williams had a hard time finding consistent time in the rotation with Love and Michael Beasley last season. Space had already been cleared out this year, but with Love out, Williams is likely to be the new starter. He's a player with a ton of talent and potential, but now he's actually getting his chance.

And the Wolves are going to need him.

It's just a miserable turn of events for the Wolves, though. They were already battling uphill without Rubio, but were hoping to get through it by counting on Love. Instead, they might find themselves in an early season hole, making a playoff run much more difficult when their top two stars return.

More on Kevin Love's injury

The Wolves can still make their playoff push. It's not all over. The roster is deeper than it was last season when Rubio went down. But they need players to step up. Williams, Nikola Pekovic, Dante Cunnigham -- all have a lot of the production burden on them now.

I don't think anyone summarized the situation better than CBSSports.com's Matt Moore: "Minnesota Timberwolves: One step forward, unfortunately it sends them careening down a flight of stairs."

The Wolves retooled their roster this season with more depth and quality size. Now, they're going to need it, and right away.

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