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Sportress of Blogitude

Kevin Love looks forward to ‘mixing it up’ in return to NBA action

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Kevin Love has made a return to NBA action — albeit preseason action, making two appearances — during which he started to knock-off several months’ worth of rust.

Coming off surgery and rehab, Love was asked about his health and basketball preparedness heading into the season during a Q&A with Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry.

“I feel great,” he said. “The last few nights I’ve had my first little bit of game action since my shoulder got ripped out. You know, everything kind of progressed from hitting the pads, playing one-on-one, three-on-three, five-on-five, and then I was able to play 12 or 15 minutes the other night and then 20-plus last night. So it’s mostly been about getting my rhythm back, taking my first few hits on my shoulder in real time, but I feel good. I’m ready to get this week behind me and get to the regular season.”

Love’s first postseason appearance of his NBA career came to an abrupt and painful halt when he suffered a separated shoulder during the first round of the playoffs, undergoing surgery shortly thereafter.

It was an arguably fitting — albeit disappointing — way for Love to end his somewhat troublesome first season with the Cavaliers, given how he and LeBron James experienced some growing pains as the duo tried to foster a working relationship both on and off the court. But James recently expressed how much he’s looking forward to working with both Love and Kyrie Irving this season so it appears things are headed in the right direction.

With Kyrie Irving out until possibly January and Tristan Thompson still holding out (along with other injuries and lineup issues), Love will be relied upon heavily to help the Cavaliers navigate the initial portion of the regular season schedule. He was asked during a recent radio interview about how he views his role on the team entering his second season.

“Heading into this year, as far as comfort goes, I feel a lot better,” he said. “I think you will see me in the painted area a lot more. Offensive rebounding and defensive rebounds and mixing it up. That’s something that I’m looking forward to –carrying the load when we have guys like Shump and Kyrie out right now. So we need to get healthy and then we’ll start playing our brand of basketball, but for now, we’re going to have different guys stepping up like you saw last year in the playoffs.”

With the season opener against the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 27 and James, who recently had an anti-inflammatory injection in his back, saying the Cavaliers won’t be able to play at a high level early on this season, it’s up to Love to do his part in helping the Cavs win some games.