MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love sat Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, and coach Rick Adelman said it was too soon to tell if Love would return to the court at any point this season.
Love was cleared to return to Minnesota on Thursday after spending the night in a Denver hospital. He sustained a mild concussion and a neck strain when Nuggets forward JaVale McGee inadvertently elbowed him in the head during the first quarter on Wednesday night.
Once Love arrives back in Minnesota, he will be further evaluated by Timberwolves doctors before his status is determined for the six remaining games on the schedule. New NBA concussion rules require him to pass an exam from an independent neurologist before he is cleared to play again.
"You've got to wait and see. I have no idea," Adelman said when asked if Love could miss the rest of the season. "He's got to get back here, have our doctors look at him and see how he feels. With the situation we're in right now, if he's out five days, he's going to miss three or four games, so the season is pretty well gone by then anyway. They'll give us a better inclination of that when he gets back tonight."
Love is fourth in the NBA in scoring at 26 points per game, second in rebounding (13.3) and second in minutes played (39). He is the heart and soul of the team, and when he went down on Wednesday night, it was the latest in an incredible list of injuries that gutted the Timberwolves' once promising playoff hopes.
The Wolves were right in the playoff race in the West when point guard Ricky Rubio tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee on March 9. What followed were injuries to starting center Nikola Pekovic (ankle), forward Michael Beasley (toe), point guard Luke Ridnour (ankle), point guard J.J. Barea (groin) and now Love -- the team's six best players.
Adelman said he's never seen anything like it in his 20-year coaching career.
"It's just been one thing after the other," he said. "It seems like the way this season has gone as a coach, I took the first 40-something games and saw the progress we made and now I'm seeing it go in the other direction quickly."
The Wolves lost seven in a row heading into the game against the Clippers. Love was due to arrive back in the Twin Cities on Thursday night and would be evaluated further in the coming days. The Wolves host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.