Kevin Love injury update: Cavs big man to play in Game 3 after X-rays negative on 'jammed' thumb
Love left Game 2 late in the fourth quarter after his thumb bent back in a scary-looking manner
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love will play in Game 3 of their first-round series against the Indiana Pacers on Friday despite a scary-looking thumb injury late in Cleveland's 100-97 victory on Wednesday. With less than four minutes remaining in the game, Love deflected a pass from Pacers guard Victor Oladipo and jammed his left thumb, forcing him to leave the game. It was particularly alarming because it is the same hand Love broke in late January, requiring him to sit out for about seven weeks of the regular season. X-rays were negative, however, and both Love and coach Tyronn Lue downplayed the incident after the game.
"I saw a replay, too, and it didn't look good," Love said. "Hurt pretty bad. Initially I told Ty afterward that I could have gone back in, but I think he liked the flow out there and guys made big plays down the stretch.
"It's not going to feel great tomorrow, but throw some ice on it, tape it up and be ready to go."
Coach Tyronn Lue said Love did not return because the Cavs "had a good flow going."
But Lue dismissed Love's injury as a "jammed thumb."
"He's great, yes sir. Ready to go. Game 3," Lue said.
Here is the play where the damage was done (warning: in slow motion, it's pretty gross):
Kevin Love jamming his thumb is slow motion OOOOUCHHHH pic.twitter.com/e33xHdPO6V— gifdsports (@gifdsports) April 19, 2018
Love has underperformed offensively in this series, scoring a combined 26 points on 8-for-24 shooting in the first two games. Nevertheless, the Cavs would be in major trouble without him. Not only is he the team's best rebounder and second-best overall player, he allows Lue to put four shooters around LeBron James and space the floor. Given that James didn't get a ton of help in Game 2 (outside of Kyle Korver, ), it is crucial for Love to remain as close to fully healthy as possible as the series shifts to Indianapolis. It is clear through two games that this is not going to be an easy matchup for Cleveland.
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