NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers uncertain when stars Love and Irving will return from injury

Kevin Love of the 2015 USA Basketball Men's National Team was given four to six months to recover from a dislocated left shoulder in late April.
Kevin Love of the 2015 USA Basketball Men's National Team was given four to six months to recover from a dislocated left shoulder in late April. PHOTO: AFP

CLEVELAND (AFP) - Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving and power forward Kevin Love, both still recovering from injuries in last season's National Basketball Association play-offs, are uncertain when they will be ready to return.

Love was given four to six months to recover from a dislocated left shoulder in late April while Irving, who suffered a left kneecap fracture in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against eventual champions Golden State, was expected to need three or four months to recover.

It's possible neither player will be back in uniform for the season opener Oct 27 at Chicago, as Cavaliers general manager David Griffin says neither player has a definite timeline to return.

"Because we've had so many guys who are coming back from surgeries and guys who are overcoming injuries, you're going to see us bring those guys along very slowly, very intentionally," Griffin said.

"I would not read too much into the appearances that those guys make or don't make in the pre-season. This is not something we have an aggressive time table for.

"I want to see where everybody progresses day by day now. We have reason to believe that all of our guys are going to be participating in camp throughout. But what that sounds like is a definite return-to-play. I wouldn't guess or estimate that right now."

Love, 27, will be counted upon for his inside strength and rebounding.

"We have all the pieces, mentalities and characteristics - whatever you want to call it - that has the making of a championship-calibre team," Love said. "I'll be limited, starting with the pad, getting hit, getting used to it. I've had scar tissue built up in there, but that will wither away quickly.

"I've put in a lot of work in the off-season to get my full range of motion back and also build my strength back. I feel really good."

Irving, 23, has also spent the off-season rehabilitating his injury.

"It hurt a lot," he said. "Repairing or getting back from any knee injury is going to take a lot of physical and mental will. So it's testing, but not anything I can't handle."

Cavaliers coach Dave Blatt was happy to wait until both players are fully fit before welcoming them back to the line-up.

"Kevin is still on limitation as far as that is concerned. We will do our progressions with him and gradually ramp that up, but he's not at that point," Blatt said.

"Kyrie is in a different point right now. As far as his progression is concerned, his progress is going to be on a whole different scale."