Oct 1, 2012; Independence, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard C.J. Miles (right) interviews Alonzo Gee during media day at the Cleveland Clinic Courts. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

If Kevin Love needs surgery, can the Timberwolves still make the playoffs?

January 3, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) drives to the basket during the first half against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves leader, Kevin Love, re-fractured his third metacarpal in the hand against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday and is expected to meet with a hand specialist in New York for further examination.

This is the second time Love has broken his hand this season. He made an early return from his previous injury, as he was expected to be ruled out of the action for 6-8 weeks, but ended up only missing the first 9 games of the season.

Despite struggling with his shooting, Love is still leading the Wolves in points (18.3) and rebounds (14.0) this season, and has obviously been a huge contributor to making the Wolves the best rebounding team in the league.

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It is still unclear whether the All-Star power forward will need surgery, but if he does, could the Timberwolves still be a playoff team this season?

It is no secret that Minnesota has been the most injury plagued team in the league. Despite all the injuries, Wolves are 15-15 on the season, 1.5 games away from a playoff position.

Right now the team is extremely short-handed. Since returning from knee injury, Ricky Rubio has missed 4 games with back spasms, although the young point guard is expected to play soon. Chase Budinger is out with a torn lateral meniscus, while Brandon Roy’s knees remain a mystery. If Love’s hand does require surgery and puts him on the shelf for an extended period of time, it would make it awfully tough for Minnesota to make a realistic playoff push.

The unfortunate truth is that the Western Conference is extremely tough at this point in time, making every single game that much more important. It is hard to see a short-handed Minnesota team catching up to the likes of Denver Nuggets, while teams like Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers are tight on their heels as well.

Stay tuned to KJG as we continue to track the latest on Kevin Love’s injury.


For more NBA news, rumors and updates follow Vytis on twitter: @VytisLasaitis


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