Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love will return to the lineup Sunday against the Toronto Raptors, head coach David Blatt said Friday.
The Cavaliers have been eagerly awaiting the return of Love ever since he suffered a shoulder injury against the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2015 playoffs. Love infamously got hurt when Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk yanked on his shoulder when the two were going after a loose ball in Game 4 of the series.
Love needed surgery and missed the rest of the postseason, and while the Cavaliers made it to the NBA Finals thanks in part to Tristan Thompson stepping up in Love’s place, Cleveland certainly missed the big man’s skills against the Golden State Warriors in the Finals.
But now Love is finally set to return, and he’ll look to improve in his second season in Cleveland. After a career year in his final season in Minnesota, Love struggled to fit in at times last year. His 16.4 points per game was his lowest mark since 2009-10, and his 9.7 rebounds per game only bested his rookie year. The 27-year-old also shot just 43.4 percent from the field, the worst mark of his career outside of his injury-shortened 2012-13 campaign.
Blatt will look to get Love more touches this season, and expect him to be more comfortable in the offense now that he’s had more time getting used to playing with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. And with James looking to carry a somewhat smaller burden this season and Irving still recovering from an injury, the Cavaliers will surely lean on Love a bit more.