Loss of Love, Rubio could be softened by weak early-season schedule
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With news of Kevin Love set to miss six to eight weeks due to a broken hand, the Minnesota Timberwolves will be without two star players until at least early-December. Ricky Rubio, recovering from knee surgery, could be out until January.
If there is a silver lining for a Wolves team that expected to emerge as playoff contenders, and possibly more, it might rest with the early-season schedule.
The Wolves open the season by playing nine of their first 15 games against teams that did not make the playoffs in 2011-2012. They also play an Orlando Magic team that lost Dwight Howard in the offseason and a Chicago Bulls team that will be without Derrick Rose.
The Wolves are also fortunate to avoid the NBA's three best teams -- Miami, Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Lakers -- until the 23rd game of the season, a road clash with the Heat on Dec. 18.
The Wolves won't see the Lakers until Feb. 1.