Trainers look at Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love after he was hurt in a collision in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets in Denver, Wednesday, April 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Chris Schneider)
DENVER— An unintentional elbow ended the night early for Kevin Love and sent him to the hospital.
The Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward sustained a mild concussion and neck strain after a hit to the head against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. He was kept overnight at an area hospital for precautionary reasons.
Love was helped off the floor by medical personnel following an inadvertent blow from JaVale McGee when the Nuggets center went up for a jumper in the lane. Love had missed all five of his shots in the first quarter before being knocked out of the game.
“It was pretty bad, but hopefully he’ll be all right,” said guard J.J. Barea, who had a career-high 15 assists in a 113-107 loss to the Nuggets. “As soon as he got hit, I knew he was out. He was talking, but he wasn’t all there, though.”
Love is the NBA’s top scorer since the All-Star break, averaging nearly 29 points. Not only that, but he’s among the league leaders in rebounding, free throws made and minutes.
Even more, Love’s the leader of the team on the court and his injury shook the Timberwolves, who fell behind by as many as 24 points before storming back and nearly pulling off a remarkable comeback.
“Kevin is our go-to guy,” said Derrick Williams, who stepped up to score 27 points off the bench. “He’s the heart of our team.”
Earlier in the contest, Love gave Kenneth Faried a hard shoulder to the chest as the Nuggets rookie flew down the lane after a rebound. Faried tumbled to the floor and had to be helped off, only to quickly return.
The injury-riddled Timberwolves were already missing Luke Ridnour, who is sidelined with a sprained right ankle. In addition, coach Rick Adelman said before the contest that Wayne Ellington was dealing with back spasms. He didn’t play against the Nuggets.