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Tyronn Lue walks back talk of knowingly playing an injured Kevin Love

Tyronn Lue on Wednesday night backtracked on a claim he played Kevin Love last week despite knowing the forward was injured.

The Cleveland Cavaliers head coach claims he misinterpreted a question before Wednesday’s 113-104 victory over the Indiana Pacers and that led to the confusion.

Lue was asked before the game when he learned Love was injured and replied, “He was already heading for surgery. It was already [hurt]. Loose bodies were already in there, so he just played through it,” via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “And then after it got to a certain point, he got the MRI and he found out it was loose bodies floating around.”

According to Lue’s stated timeline, Love would have played three games — including the second of a back-to-back against the Oklahoma City Thunder — despite the Cavs knowing he was injured.

Members of the Cavaliers front office were present when Lue made those comments and presumably recognized the notion the team played an injured Love didn’t paint a flattering picture.

According to Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon, Cavaliers sources reviewed the tape of Lue’s comments and informed the media he misspoke. Instead, the team insists there was no knowledge of Love’s knee injury until swelling arose ahead of Saturday’s 129-105 win over the Denver Nuggets. Love played 33 minutes in that game, scoring 16 points and pulling down nine rebounds.

It is believed Love originally suffered the injury during a Feb. 6 game against the Washington Wizards. Lue told reporters after Wednesday’s win that was the nature of his pregame response, as he was addressing when Love originally suffered the injury, not when he learned about it.

It’s arguably immaterial at this stage — in some sense — what the Cavaliers knew about Love’s injury and when they knew it. What’s done is done, as Love on Tuesday underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is expected to miss approximately six weeks.

Regarding the Cavaliers, the team is now 2-0 in Love’s absence. And if LeBron James’ bold comments are any indication, he’ll make sure the Cavs hold down the fort until Love’s return.

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