MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kevin Love has passed all concussion tests and been cleared by the NBA to return to the court, but the Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t about to take any chances with the new face of their franchise.
The Wolves shut their All-Star power forward down on Sunday, not wanting to risk further injury in the final two games of the season.
Love has been out since being knocked woozy in a game at Denver on April 11. He suffered what the team called a mild concussion and a strained neck, but the possibility remained that he would return before the season came to a close. But coach Rick Adelman said before Sunday’s game against Golden State that the combination of missed time and the sensitive nature of head injuries made it not worth the risk.
Love returned to practice on Saturday and said he felt good back on the court, but said he would do what was in the best interests of his long-term health.
Guard Luke Ridnour also has been shut down with a sprained right ankle that has kept him out since April 2.
“It’s just best for both of them not to push it,” Adelman said.
Love is fourth in the league with 26 points per game and second in rebounding with 13.3 per game.
The Timberwolves do not have a first-round pick in next year’s draft — their 2012 pick is in the New Orleans Hornets’ hands as part of a long-ago trade that brought Marko Jaric to Minnesota and sent Sam Cassell to the Los Angeles Clippers. The only way the Wolves can have a first-round pick in the June draft is if Utah makes the playoffs and has to give up its lottery-protected pick, which was part of the Al Jefferson trade two years ago.
So this is not part of some elaborate tanking strategy aimed at giving the Wolves a better chance at moving up in the draft lottery.
Adelman said Wolves coaches and doctors met to make the decision jointly. The Wolves finish the season with a game against Denver on Thursday.
“We’ll just go with the guys we have and hope we can get a couple of wins,” he said.
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