LIVE ›
NEXT › 7 p.m. ESPN SportsCenter
7:05 p.m. The Beer Show
8 p.m. ESPN SportsCenter
8 p.m. Coming soon...
8:05 p.m. ESPN Radio Tonight
9 p.m. ESPN SportsCenter
Updated: January 9th, 2013 2:48pm
Wessel: Surgery for Kevin Love shouldn't mean Wolves get desperate

Wessel: Surgery for Kevin Love shouldn't mean Wolves get desperate

SportsWire Daily

Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports

Signup!
by
1500ESPN.com

It appears the Minnesota Timberwolves' worst fears about Kevin Love have come true.

The All-Star forward will need surgery to repair the third and fourth metacarpal in his right hand and will miss eight-to-10 weeks, the team announced.

Love was examined Wednesday by Dr. Andy Weiland, a hand specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Details of the surgery are expected to be announced Thursday, but Yahoo! Sports reported the procedure is slated for next week.

Love injured his hand during the third quarter of the Wolves' game on Jan. 3 at Denver.

A league source told 1500ESPN.com's Darren Wolfson on Tuesday the timeline could be up to 12 weeks, but the Wolves were holding out hope surgery wouldn't be necessary.

Love's return will come no sooner than mid-March, with only a handful of games left in the regular season.

Love never was able to get into any type of rhythm in 18 games after returning from his first broken hand this year, so it is fair to speculate his season, in essence, is over.

The question now becomes what the Wolves should do in what is beginning to appear more and more like a lost season.

At 16-15 entering Wednesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Wolves are No. 9 in the Western Conference and still have a shot at making the playoffs if they got some help by the Feb. 21 trade deadline.

The smart play for the Wolves would be to only make a trade if it helps the team this year and the years to come. Giving up any assets on an impulse trade for a power forward to try to make up for Love's absence in an attempt to get a No. 8 seed would be a mistake.

The Wolves have much bigger needs at the guard and wing position than power forward, and their future would be better served addressing them.

After years of hitting the reset button on the rebuild, the Wolves finally have a good core of players that have unfortunately been decimated by injuries.

There is no need to try to patch a flesh wound with a Band-Aid in an attempt to limp to the finish line when it jeopardizes your long-term outlook.

But the Wolves likely won't see it that way. They simply have too much riding on this season and they want to see actual progress they can point their finger at -- even if it is more of an illusion than reality.

The Wolves have been telling anybody who will listen since last summer that their goal is to make the playoffs for the first time in eight years, the longest dry spell in the league. They are sick of being a bottom-feeder.

They finally have a product people want to see and they don't want to lose that, especially now that the NHL lockout is over and their winter competition is about to take the ice.

The marketing department has taken things a step forward by giving season ticket holders a money back guarantee if they don't make the playoffs this season. The "playoff pledge," as it is being called, gives customers 10 percent off their bills for next season on their renewed season tickets, if the Wolves go belly up.

Further, at age 66, Rick Adelman isn't interested in a long rebuilding process. He isn't interested in rebuilding at all, actually. He wants to win.

That became clear last summer when nearly half the roster was told not to let the door hit them on the way out. His refusal to give Derrick Williams the playing time required to enable him to develop, despite the fact the Wolves used their highest draft pick in franchise history on him, is even more proof of Adelman's desire to win now.

It is unclear whether it is Adelman or David Kahn is pulling the strings behind the scenes, but all signs point to it being Adelman. That doesn't mean Kahn doesn't have a job he would like to keep.

Making the playoffs is in his best interest as well, even if it means signing off on a deal that is more about today than the future.

The Wolves can't be blamed for their desire to finally make the playoffs again. The list of organizations in all of sports that have suffered through more mediocrity the last eight years is short.

But it isn't like Love is the only crack in this ship. They have suffered an unprecedented amount of injuries. Both Adelman and assistant coach Terry Porter say they have never seen anything like it in their combined 50 years in the NBA as players and coaches.

No sane person could fault the Wolves for being on the outside of the playoffs looking in this spring after all they've been through. The team finally has stability and a head coach in charge that it can believe in.

If they make a deal and trade away assets, it should be for a guard or a wing player that can help them when Love comes back -- even if that is not until next season. It shouldn't be for a lesser, stop-gap power forward that is given the unenviable task of coming in and attempting to fill Love's high-tops.

They have a chance to build a team that could turn into a title contender in the future. No need to mortgage that for a team that could be a contender for a No. 8 seed this season.

In this story: Kevin Love, Derrick Williams
6483