CLEVELAND (AP) — Kevin Love might be a little closer to helping the needy Cavaliers.
The All-Star forward was cleared to begin “select basketball activities” following left foot surgery, but there is still no clear timetable when he’ll play again for the NBA’s worst team.
Love played in just four games before having surgery on Nov. 2 to repair an injury sustained during Cleveland’s exhibition opener. He had cartilage removed and fluid drained from the base of his large toe — an injury that made it difficult to walk.
The team said Love visited Dr. Martin O’Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York on Wednesday. The evaluation revealed that Love’s foot is healing and he can begin some on-court activities under the direction of the team’s medical staff.
But it’s still not known when he’ll return to Cleveland’s lineup, and while he’s sidelined, Love continues to be mentioned in trade rumors in advance of February’s deadline.
Love signed a four-year, $120 million contract extension last summer when the Cavs lost LeBron James and headed into a season in which the club thought it could rebuild and contend.
But a horrific start led to the firing of coach Tyronn Lue and the Cavs are just 8-30 entering Friday’s home matchup against Utah.
It’s been a struggle without Love.
“He’s been gone all year,” coach Larry Drew said. “We haven’t had him all year. Kevin is, let’s face it, he’s our main guy. He’s our go-to guy. He’s the guy we’re going to put the ball in his hands at the end of the game. He does so much because he has that, being a guy his size he can step up to the 3-point line. You can post him. He gets to the foul line.
“Getting him back, it will be a great welcome. Hopefully it will be sooner than later.”
Love has averaged 17.2 points and 10.0 rebounds with the Cavs, who could be tempted to move him in a deal.
Drew said it’s natural for Love’s name to be attached to trade talk this time of year.
“I understand the nature of this business. Anybody can be traded,” he said. “I’ve been in this league long enough where I’ve seen that happen. I think any deal that makes sense for any team — sure, they’ll be willing to pull the trigger. But that’s just the nature of our business. Around this time is always an exciting time because you start hearing names floating around, all the possibilities and the probables and the ‘what ifs’ and 99 percent of the time none of it happens.”