DETROIT — Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love will return to the lineup on Saturday night after missing the season opener with a calf injury.
Love, 32, has been sidelined since the team’s first exhibition game on Dec. 12. Love said he got kicked in the calf and had swelling in his leg from the knee to Achilles tendon. It was officially ruled a strained calf. While he wanted to play in Wednesday’s opener, the team decided two more days of rest would be beneficial. Love participated in the team’s morning shootaround at Little Caesars Arena and said he “feels great.”
“Legs are underneath me,” Love said. “I imagine the wind aspect will be a little bit tough for me, especially in that first quarter, but I feel good to go.”
Larry Nance Jr., who started in Love’s place Wednesday, will return to his sixth man role.
“We have to do our best to get him on the floor,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of Nance. “I think he’s showing us that he deserves that. His versatility allows us to play him in a bunch of different spots. I think we’ve had some success with that big lineup. But when you play the way he played, it’s our responsibility to figure out a way to get you on the floor. And we’ve got to do that.”
Backup point guard Dante Exum went through shootaround as well. Officially listed as questionable, Exum is expected to make his season debut following a left hip strain that kept him out of the final two preseason games and opening-night win against the Hornets.
The Cavs’ first road game also marks center Andre Drummond’s return to Detroit. Drummond, a two-time All-Star and the ninth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, spent seven seasons with the Pistons before a midseason trade to Cleveland in February. Drummond scored 14 points and grabbed 14 rebounds on Wednesday.
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