Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love admitted that being out for so long was mentally tough for him and he couldn't wait to return to the court. Prior to Friday, five-time NBA All-Star Love appeared in only two games this season.
But on Friday Love was given the green light to return to action as he played 10 minutes in a 116-82 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Love had only four points and one rebound and his team easily lost but he felt relief after returning to the court.
"Just playing basketball, that's what I love to do. It's so much a part of me," Love told reporters after the game, per ESPN. "So to have it taken away from me last year and then being super unlucky with the injury, more than anything, it's just really, really happy to be back out there.
Things will progress. I'll probably take me a couple weeks maybe to feel like myself. But just wanted to get out there and get up and down on the floor more than anything."
Being out extremely tough for Love
"I don't want to speak hyperbole [or] take it over the top with it, but this is probably the most mentally taxing, not the most physically taxing, but the most mentally taxing for me for sure," Love said.
"It was just really mentally frying. I got so f---ing sick of riding the bike and doing the VersaClimber. There's never been a time in my life where I've wanted to run sprints more than like 2-3 weeks ago. "I came back, I had a great practice.
I think it was at the eight-week mark. I had a great practice. The next day, it was like 'Ahh, I feel a little sore.' Mentally, I was just like I need to get over this hump. Then it came time to kind of get through the All-Star break.
I came back and had a little bit of a breakthrough. "Now I'm just hoping these next couple of few weeks, I'll get the wind underneath me. I'll get to start feeling like myself again and won't be as sore.
A lot of that calf pain has subsided. I'm hoping a lot more of my lift will come back in the meantime." It remains to be seen if Love can stay healthy and play out the rest of the season.