Cavs: Kevin Love admits feeling guilty about injury, looks forward to return

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love joined New Orleans Pelicans veteran J.J. Redick and co-host Tommy Alter on Monday’s episode of The Old Man and the Three podcast. Love, Redick and Alter bounced around a variety of topics including hoops, wine, grub, his recent engagement and much more.

Having played in a total of just 60 games over the past two seasons, Love’s current injury was also discussed.

Love admitted that he was also feeling “guilty,” as Redick previously had been during times when he’s been sidelined in his career.

When Redick mentioned that when he’s been hurt in the past he’s felt “guilty”, Love quickly agreed, saying the following.

“Me too! It’s so funny you say that. I have regret. Like…It’s not my fault! I was just telling an assistant coach today, a guy that I love, Dan Geriot, ‘you see me!’ You see how hard that I attack injuries and how hard I work. I don’t have to tell you, but I’m telling you just because I feel guilty. Like I feel like I’m letting you guys (the organization) down.'”

Love went on to say this from there.

“On top of all that, you get paid all this money to put a ball through a hoop. And fans and people are asking when you’re going to be back…..On the other side of that too, it makes me feel guilty because people don’t understand the difference between (the severity of) a grade one, a grade two, a grade three (strain). And I have a grade two.”

The five-time All-Star had this to say about his rehab and recovery from the grade two strain.

“I’m taking care of it. I’m busting my (butt) to get back…Boy, I feel so guilty (about being injured). More than anything, it’s (feeling like you’re) letting your teammates down.”

Having played in just over one full game this season, in what was a W over the Detroit Pistons back on Dec. 26, the second game of the 2020-21 season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and having his share of injury issues in recent seasons, Love is anxious to get healthy and back on the court. He expressed that from there in that recent pod appearance.

“I just want to play competitive, meaningful basketball. And that is all I want. That’s all I want. Moving forward, all I want to do is win. All I want to do is play meaningful basketball. But you can’t do that if you have these injuries and you’re not healthy. That guilt (of being injured) is a real thing.”

Now in his 13th season, the 32-year-old Kevin Love discussed his future in the league.

“Half my NBA life is already over. To me, that gives me anxiety to want to come back and play and have people remember me as this great player, great teammate. Somebody who put all he had into the game. Again, injuries happen, but…just leaving a legacy behind (is important). Being a champion and a guy that just loved the game and played the game the right way and so on and so forth. However you want to leave (the game), whatever you give the game, (the game’s) going to give you back. But there’s only so much you can give it when you’re sitting on the sideline (injured).”

Both the veteran forward and Cleveland Cavaliers fans are hopeful Love will be in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse hitting shots sooner rather than later.

Love is clearly an invaluable floor spacing presence that can help open up driving lanes for the likes of Cavs leading scorer Collin Sexton (23.1 points per outing), Darius Garland and others. Love hit 37.4 percent of a career-high 7.0 three-point attempts per game last season, when he was mostly available for the Wine and Gold.

Additionally, Love, who had 3.2 assists per game in 2019-20, is a highly capable passing big, similar to that of Larry Nance Jr., the latter of whom is set to seemingly be sidelined through most of March with a fractured left hand.

Along with that element, Love could definitely aid the Cavaliers defensive rebounding efforts, in particular. He had 9.8 rebounds per outing last season (with 8.8 being defensive), and has been one of the game’s best glass cleaners for years.

Ideally, we’ll see Love out there making things happen in game action for the Cavs fairly soon.