All-Star forward Kevin Love broke his right hand during morning workouts and is expected to be sidelined for the next six-to-eight weeks.
An eight year playoff drought may continue for the Timberwolves, as the team could be without Love and point guard Ricky Rubio for the first month of the season, as Rubio continues his rehabilitation after tearing his ACL seven months ago.
Love broke the 3rd and 4th metacarpal in his right (shooting) hand and is expected to consult with a specialist Thursday in New York.
Minnesota hasn’t qualified for the post season since 2003-04 and beginning the season without its only All-Star selection other than Kevin Garnett in that eight year span is a major setback.
Love finished fifth in MVP voting, even as his team won just 26 games, after transferring into the most dominant power forward in the game.
The 24-year-old ranked fifth in scoring, averaging 26 points, second in rebounds (13.3 per game) and posted a league-high 48 double-doubles in 55 games.
Love was selected as an All-Star by the Western Conference coaching staff (he was an injury replacement in 2011) and even won the 3-point shootout, knocking out Kevin Durant in the final round.
Nineteen times he scored 30 or more points in a game and he grabbed 15 or more rebounds on 22 occasions.
Basic statistics can’t measure how truly valuable Love was to his team last season.
His PER of 25.44 was the fifth highest in the league and his 3-point shooting prowess wasn’t just limited to exhibitions.
In 33 crunch time situations, Love averaged 2.5 made attempts from beyond the arc, establishing himself as a threat from anywhere on the floor with the game on the line.
In the same frame, Love converted 89 percent of his free throw attempts, so teams couldn’t just blatantly send him to the line.
In each of his first four seasons, Love has shown significant improvement, culminating with a six point increase to his scoring average and becoming one of the premier players throughout the league.
Love spent his summer representing the United States in the Summer Olympics, helping Team USA capture its second straight gold medal.
The former UCLA star was one of five players with a double figure scoring average, 11.7 points per game and he led the team in rebounding, averaging 7.6 per contest and he grabbed a team-high 27 offensive rebounds during the eight game tournament.
More importantly, Love demonstrated his shooting touch, converting 63 percent of his attempts from the field, after shooting 44.8 last season, the lowest of his career.
A broken right hand will likely have a dramatic effect on his field goal percentage, but as long as he is on the floor, the Timberwolves are a playoff threat.