The Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Boston Celtics and moved on the the second round of the NBA playoffs on Sunday, but their title hopes took a hit.
In the first quarter Kevin Love dislocated his shoulder after getting tangled up with Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk. Olynyk seemed to hook and hold Love’s arm, preventing him from grabbing the rebound and pulling his shoulder out of its socket when Love tried to free himself.
Love raced to the locker room and didn’t return to the game:
After the game Love said Olynyk purposely tried to injure him.
“I thought it was a bush league play. I mean I was out there, Olynyk was in a compromising position, had no chance to get the ball and it’s just too bad that he would go to those lengths to take somebody out of the game and do that to someone. I have no doubt in my mind that he did that on purpose.”
Olynyk’s teammates told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo that Olynyk is “sort of uncoordinated and awkward,” which league to the tangle up.
Olynyk himself told the Boston Herald, “That’s ridiculous. I would never intentionally hurt Kevin or anyone else. He locked my arm up, I locked up his as we were fighting for a loose ball. You lock up arms all the time in this league.”
It’s a potentially devastating injury for the Cavs. While Love hasn’t put up the sort of individual number he did in Minnesota, he has still been integral to a Cleveland offence that has been borderline unstoppable since February. With the resurgent Bulls looming in round two, this is the worst possible time for Love to go down.
We won’t know the extent of the injury until Love gets some further tests, but he could miss significant time. Sports injury expert Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothes noted that how much time Love will miss will be determined by the extent of the damage to the surrounding tissues. Some NBA players have come back from a dislocated shoulder in as little as two weeks, while others have missed up to 57 games.
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