Minnesota’s playoff hopes were dealt a serious blow Wednesday night when leading scorer and rebounder Kevin Love was knocked out of a loss at Denver and hospitalized overnight for treatment of a concussion and a neck strain.
Love was injured in the first quarter of the Timberwolves’ 113-107 loss at Denver when 7-foot Denver center JaVale McGee inadvertently elbowed him in the head on a drive to the basket.
Love landed on his back and teammate J.J. Barea immediately called for medical help. After remaining motionless for several moments he was treated for the injury and left the game.
“I knew it as soon as he hit, when I saw his eyes on the floor I knew he was out,” Barea . “He was talking, but he wasn’t all there. A mild concussion is still bad, but he’ll be fine.”
Love wore a neck brace while the medical staff worked on him in the locker room. He did not re-enter the game and will miss the team’s home game Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.
His return to the lineup won’t come until he passes a series of league-mandated tests that prove he is symptom-free as part of the NBA’s concussion policy it adopted before this season.
After Love’s injury, Denver immediately went on a 16-4 run at the end of the first quarter. It helped contribute to the seventh consecutive loss for the Timberwolves, who lost Ricky Rubio to a season-ending knee injury earlier this year. On Wednesday, Minnesota also played without guards Luke Ridnour (sprained ankle) and Wayne Ellington (back spasms).
“It just seems like that happens every game to us,” Minnesota coach Rick Adelman told the Star-Tribune.