Ball Don't Lie

Kevin Love missed a Timberwolves preseason game after injuring his elbow while sleeping

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie

It's not altogether rare for established stars to take it easy during the preseason, sitting in the interest of keeping legs fresh for the start of the season (a strat occasionally employed by Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs) or preferring to exercise caution lest minor tweaks turn into nagging injuries. So when Kevin Love missed Saturday's preseason contest between his Minnesota Timberwolves and the Chicago Bulls, a game his squad won by seven, due to what was reported as a sore right elbow, it seemed like a garden-variety veteran skip.

What made it interesting, though, is how the 24-year-old Olympic gold medalist suffered the dinged-up wing. For more on the story, check out the rundown up top from our friends at the Yahoo! Sports Minute, and read on for the report by Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

[Fantasy Basketball '12: Play the official game of NBA.com]

Love didn't bang it or hyperextend it while playing only the first quarter Friday in Indianapolis. No, he instead slept with his right arm extended off his bed all night Friday and when he awoke Saturday morning, he said he could barely lift a basketball.

"I couldn't shoot it 10 feet," he said. [...]

Love [...] had no strength in that arm. Maybe he needs to get a bed like the one [Al Jefferson], his former teammate, recently ordered in Salt Lake City: A 10-foot-by-12-foot one that cost more than $23,000.

"My bed's big enough," Love said. "Just a fluke thing. I'm pretty sure it's just a 24-hour deal."

Come Monday afternoon, though, Zgoda tweeted from Wolves practice that Love said his elbow was still bothering him. Apparently, Love's talent for diagnosis lags far behind his gift for "getting" teammates.

Wolves fans needn't worry much, though — the All-Star power forward did return to practice on Monday, and said he plans to play in Minny's next preseason contest, a Tuesday night friendly against Israeli club Maccabi Haifa. Now, all he needs to do is follow the advice of noted sleep scientist Trey Kerby of The Basketball Jones and switch up his sleep posture to a more arm-friendly position and such issues should be summarily nipped in the bud come the start of the regular season, allowing Love to get that right elbow tucked in and prepared even more field-goal (1059) and 3-point (282) attempts than the career-high marks he set last year. I'm partial to the Freefaller, m'self, but hey: to each his own.

Gentle, cautious elbow bash to SLAM.

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