CLEVELAND (AP) — Kevin Love can’t help the Cleveland Cavaliers climb back into the NBA Finals just yet.
Love remains slowed by a concussion suffered in Game 2 and will sit out Game 3 on Wednesday night, when the Cavs try to cut into the Golden State Warrior’s 2-0 lead in the series.READ MORE: Volunteers Spread Out Across Bay Area for Annual Coastal Cleanup
Love took part in the team’s morning shootaround, a positive step toward his return to the floor. Afterward, the Cavs said his status was questionable, but the team later sent out a news release saying Love is out and his status for Game 4 has not been determined.
The 27-year-old forward was diagnosed with a concussion Sunday night after he was accidentally elbowed in the back of the head by Warriors forward Harrison Barnes as they battled for a rebound in the second quarter. Love played part of the second half but took himself out of the game after he became dizzy while playing defense. He was placed into the league’s concussion protocol, a program implemented a few years ago for safety.
According to the protocol, Love is required to gradually increase his physical activity and stay symptom free before he can be cleared by Dr. Jeffrey of the NBA and team physician Dr. Alfred Cianflocco.
Love missed last year’s finals and most of the playoffs after dislocating his left shoulder and undergoing surgery. He’s been a major contributor to Cleveland’s run this postseason, averaging 16.5 points and a team-leading 9.4 rebounds in 16 games.
With Love out, coach Tyronn Lue has a few options, which could include starting 35-year-old Richard Jefferson. He was wearing a red jersey — designated for starters — when the team allowed media in after the shootaround. Jefferson scored 12 points in Cleveland’s 33-point loss to the Warriors in Game 2.
Lue can also turn to 7-foot-1 center Timofey Mozgov and forward Channing Frye for more minutes.READ MORE: San Francisco Celebrates Rise of Lowrider Community With Car Show and Cruise
Frye, who came over in a mid-season trade, had a major impact in Cleveland’s win over Toronto in the Eastern Conference finals with his outside shooting, but he’s had limited time against the Warriors. That could change.
“I’ve just got to stay ready,” he said before learning Love wouldn’t play. “When I came here I understood we’re a very deep team. Different matchups work, sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. Coach is trying to figure out the lineup that’s going to work the best. I think that honestly they play small, they really aren’t playing their centers, then the next guy that comes in is about 6-foot-6. For me it’s a good and bad situation, but I’m always going to stay ready.
“I’m never one to complain about minutes or question coach Lue. I’m here to help the team win. If that’s getting five minutes, I’m going to have to bust my butt for five minutes.”
The news of Love’s absence reached the Warriors as they were conducting their shootaround at Quicken Loans Arena.
“It changes the expectation of who’s going to get the minutes,” said league MVP Stephen Curry. “Kevin has a certain skill set that’s tough to handle. He can space the floor, knock down 3s, he can get some touches on the blocks. So whoever’s filling those roles is going to do something different, whether it’s Channing, whether it’s Mozgov, whether it’s Richard Jefferson, you’ve got to know your personnel and adjust.
“From a team perspective for them I don’t know how much it’ll change the play-calling and whatnot. You’ve just got to know who’s on the floor and how to guard them.”MORE NEWS: San Francisco Schools, Public Health Dept. Partner to Provide Campus COVID Vaccinations
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