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Wolves' Kevin Love re-fractured his right hand

By Royce Young | NBA writer

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced Saturday that forward Kevin Love has re-fractured the third metacarpal on his right hand.

Love injured the hand Thursday in the third quarter during a win against the Denver Nuggets. It's hard to see exactly how, but it appeared he hit Andre Iguodala's arm.

Initially, the diagnosis was a sprained finger, but after Love checked out he didn't return to the game.

Love will be examined by Dr. Andy Weiland, a hand specialist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, later this week. The team says following that, an update will be provided, which will likely include a timetable.

His original injury didn't require surgery, but if it's determined he needs it this time around, his timetable could be more lengthy.

The first injury occurred prior to the season as Love fractured his third and fourth metacarpal doing knuckle push-ups. He was out just less than five weeks. The original timetable given was six to eight weeks.

Assuming Love is out for at least a moderate amount of time, the Wolves are back in a familiar position of trying to figure out how to replace the production of their most important player. Though Love hadn't found his shooting stroke this season, he still is leading the Wolves in scoring (18.3 points), rebounds (14.0) and double-doubles (14). And that's in playing only 18 games.

But Love has struggled shooting the ball, hitting only 35.2 percent from the floor and an anemic 21.7 percent from 3. Compare that to last season where Love shot an impressive 37.2 percent from 3 and was the 3-point champ at All-Star Weekend. So it's safe to say a broken shooting hand can have an impact on your shooting performance.

Which of course begs the question of how Love will respond when he returns from this latest fracture. And will he be able to recapture his form in time for the Wolves to make a playoff push?

Without Love -- or Ricky Rubio for that matter -- the Wolves patched their way to a 5-4 start with Derrick Williams starting in Love's place, and are 6-5 overall this season without their All-Star forward. Currently, Minnesota sits at 15-14 and just a half-game out of eighth in the West.

So the Wolves will again have to find a way to keep their head above water for a while until Love returns. At least they know they've done it before.

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