Kevin Love feels 'really good' after his first 5-on-5 practice of Cavs' camp

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Kevin Love played 5-on-5, full court, full-contact basketball Saturday for the first time during Cleveland Cavaliers training camp and came out of the practice encouraged.

"I felt good," Love said. "Just getting into the rhythm of the plays more than anything, just getting my legs under me and contact -- 5-on-5 felt really good."

It has been 5½ months since Love dislocated his left shoulder in the Cavs' first round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, requiring surgery. Cleveland mapped out a gradual progression for Love to follow as he worked his way back onto the court during camp.

"(I felt) pretty anxious," Love said. "It had been six months now. As far as progressing from the pad into 1-on-1, to 3-on-3, I was ready to get back out there in 5-on-5. As time goes I'll get more and more accustomed to being out there playing, but today was the first step."

Cavs coach David Blatt said he could sense his star forward's impatience.

"He'd been hungry to play," Blatt said. "We'd been holding him back. He's been very anxious to play with the guys in a 5-on-5 game situation and I'm sure he feels good today."

Blatt said earlier in the week that it would be "realistic" to pencil in Love to the starting lineup on opening night Oct. 27 in Chicago, however Love preached caution.

"As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I'll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say," Love told the Sporting News. "... I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there's different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through."

If his 5-on-5 debut was any indication, Love should be ready when the regular season tips off.

"He looked well. He looked healthy," said LeBron James. "It was great to have him out there for our team and it was great to have another body back out there, especially someone who's going to mean so much to our team, so he looked pretty good coming back."

Despite Love's positive performance, Blatt said the team will hold him out of its back-to-back preseason games Monday in Columbus, Ohio against the Memphis Grizzlies and Tuesday at home against the Milwaukee Bucks.

"At this point we're kind of trying to stay true to our plan here," Blatt said. "And we could throw him out there, but I don't think it's necessary at this point. We're just going to keep working and keep progressing consistently and steadily with him."

Love said he could play "maybe a few minutes" Thursday against the Indiana Pacers, however.

"Again, he's worked very, very hard," Blatt said. "He's worked all summer with our performance director, Alex Moore. He works every day, hard, in terms of getting his conditioning up and working on his skill work. He's ready to play. We'll just continue to be cautious and go step-by-step with him."

Added James: "I think he's going to be so good for us, man. I'm excited to just have him back out on the floor."