From Comcast SportsNetMINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- If the Minnesota Timberwolves are going to chase down their first playoff berth since 2004, they're going to have to do most of the work without Kevin Love.Unfortunately for this hard-luck franchise, they know what it feels like to play without their All-Star and Olympian.Love will miss the next eight to 10 weeks after needing surgery to repair a right hand that is broken for the second time this season, the team announced on Wednesday.It's the latest in a long line of injuries to Minnesota's key players that have threatened to derail a season which started with postseason aspirations. It's also the latest chapter in what has been a nightmare season for Love in the first year of the 62 million contract extension he signed last January.Love missed the first three weeks of the regular season after breaking his right hand in the preseason. He returned faster than most expected, played for about a month and then broke two bones in his shooting hand in a game last week against Denver. The team said a date for the surgery would be announced Thursday."We're going to miss him a lot, but there's nothing we can do about that right now," point guard Ricky Rubio said Tuesday night before knowing the full extent of Love's injury. "We just have to keep moving forward."The timeframe would put Love back on the court possibly around mid-March, about a month before the playoffs begin. The Wolves (16-15) started the day in ninth place in the Western Conference, one spot out of the playoff field.Love was averaging 18.3 points and 14.0 rebounds after helping Team USA to the gold medal in the London Olympics, but he hasn't been the same player who emerged as the best power forward in the game last year.Needing more time to rest after the Olympic grind, Love showed up to training camp knowing he would need to push himself to get into the shape he was accustomed to playing in. That process was halted late in the preseason when he injured his hand the first time, a break that didn't need surgery and allowed him to return about 10 days earlier than expected.Once he was back in the lineup, Love struggled to recapture the shooting form that made him such a unique problem for opposing defenses. He was shooting just 21.7 percent from 3-point range and 35 percent from the field, with his hand not allowing him to get the feel on his shot."I think this time, he needs to do it right, to recover fully, recover all the way to the end," center Nikola Pekovic said before the team played Oklahoma City on Wednesday night. "The last time, the previous time he got hurt, he kind of hurried. So maybe, I'm not a doctor, I don't know. Maybe that's the reason: it's not healed all the way. I'm sure this time he'll heal it up all the way."Love also drew scorn from a Timberwolves fan base that had adored him shortly after returning when he made some critical remarks about the organization to Yahoo! Sports and renewed his complaints about getting a four-year contract and not the five-year deal that he wanted.Now the Wolves will have to play on without him again.They've also lost Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger and Josh Howard to knee injuries this season and been slowed by Rubio's gradual return from a torn ACL in his left knee last March. Rubio returned for five games in mid-December, but had to sit out four games with back spasms, as well, and said after dishing out eight assists in a win over the Hawks on Tuesday night that he's still working to get his conditioning back up to speed.Nikola Pekovic, J.J. Barea and Luke Ridnour have also been dealing with minor injuries, a run of health issues that has left coach Rick Adelman without a full bench for almost the entire season.Even Adelman has been absent lately, missing the last two games for personal reasons. It's not immediately clear when the coach will rejoin his team."The NBA doesn't stop for us," said assistant Terry Porter, who is filling in for Adelman. "I wish I could make it stop and just twist the schedules a little bit. I don't want to stop seeing somebody but I just want to re-shift when we see them. Like OKC, we want to see them in March maybe."
As part of a weekly series, presented by Ozinga, CSNChicago.com will highlight the top performances of several prospects in a weekly minor league report.
White Sox Blueprint Player of the Week: Micker Adolfo (OF), Kannapolis Intimidators
The White Sox are finally seeing the player they envisioned when they signed the No. 2 ranked international prospect in 2013.
As he still grows into his 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame, Micker Adolfo has put his power potential on display in Kannapolis this season.
Adolfo has been on a tear throughout his last 10 games as he's hit .368 to go along with three home runs, seven RBI and four walks.
On the season, Adolfo is slashing .286/.347/.493 and has already set career-highs in several categories, including home runs (8), RBI (35), hits (65), doubles (21) and runs (37).
It looks like that nagging thumb injury is finally behind MLB's No. 1 prospect.
In his last 10 games at Charlotte, Moncada is batting .282 with a home run, six RBI and a stolen base. Moncada has also shown an impressive eye at the plate during that span, as he had a 12/11 BB/K ratio.
It's spelled trouble for opposing hitters when Jordan Stephens has been on the mound in 2017.
The Texas-native has started three games since coming off the DL and carries an 0.98 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 18.1 innings pitched.
Stephens is currently MLB Pipeline's No. 14 White Sox prospect.
[VIVID SEATS: Get your White Sox tickets here]
After a slow start following a promotion to Winston-Salem, the forgotten piece from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton trade has been on a tear.
In three June starts, Dane Dunning has allowed just three earned runs on 13 hits and has 23 strikeouts in 17.2 innings pitched.
DSL White Sox
Although he hasn't homered since his first game in the Dominican Summer League, Cuban outfielder Luis Robert has shown tremendous discipline in the batter's box.
Robert has averaged one walk per game and has a .258 batting average in 10 games. He's also added four stolen bases on the season.
Great Falls Voyagers
A pair of players from the White Sox 2016 draft class have gotten off to hot starts in the Rookie League.
Anthony Villa, a 19th rounder out of St. Mary's, has a robust 1.777 OPS in his first four games and has belted two home runs and six RBI.
Infielder Luis Curbello, a sixth-round selection out of Cocoa High School in Florida, has a .429/.529/.714 slash line with a home run and two RBI.
Before the clock struck noon on a day Chicago was hosting its first ever NHL Draft, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman sent shockwaves throughout the city and hockey world by completing a pair of blockbuster trades within an hour of each other.
The first was dealing three-time Stanley Cup-winning defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to Arizona, and the second involving Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad in a swap of talented wingers with Columbus.
This comes two days after the Blackhawks announced Marian Hossa will miss the 2017-18 campaign with a progressive skin disorder. That's three core players gone in the blink of an eye.
Who's ready for a new era in Chicago?
Rather than maximizing a championship window that was viewed as closing quickly, Bowman has elected to take a long-term approach and it might not be the worst idea.
There's no doubt the loss of Hjalmarsson, who remains one of the most underrated blue liners in the league, and Panarin, who finished in the top-10 in scoring among forwards in both of his first two NHL seasons, will sting.
But there's a good chance the Blackhawks wouldn't have been able to reward them with the pay raises they deserve after their contracts expire following the 2018-19 season, and that certainly played a huge role in the decision to head in a new direction.
In reacquiring Saad, the Blackhawks finally give Jonathan Toews that reliable left-winger they've desperately lacked since Saad was shipped out of town in 2015, providing balance throughout the top-six. Saad is also locked up for the next four years at a $6 million cap hit that will look better as time goes by.
For the last two years, the Blackhawks were known as a one-line scoring team thanks to the chemistry developed between Patrick Kane and Panarin.
The second-half emergence of Nick Schmaltz and familiarity Kane has developed with center Artem Anisimov has allowed Panarin to become expendable in their quest to solve their top-line woes. And that's not a bad consolation line, especially when you consider top prospect Alex DeBrincat could also be in the cards as early as this season.
On the back end, the Blackhawks receive a 24-year-old defenseman in Connor Murphy, who's also signed for the next four years at a $3.85 million cap hit, and carries a right-handed shot, something they've needed more of in the organization. While there will certainly be growing pains under Joel Quenneville, Murphy's ceiling is fairly high and gives the Blackhawks some speed coming out of their own zone.
In making both of these deals, the Blackhawks got younger in their attempt to keep up with a league that relies more on speed, addressing a few areas that Nashville exposed during their first-round sweep of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs.
And while they may have sacrificed two key players in the short-term, the Blackhawks executed a plan that should keep the perceived championship window open longer than expected.