Love will likely miss six to eight weeks with the injury, sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
“It’s just unfortunate for our team,” Cavs forward LeBron James said after the game. “Obviously with everything [that’s] been going on as of late with our ballclub, just trying to figure out how we’re going to play every night, different lineups and getting everybody into the flow, we don’t need to have Kev go out like that. He’s going to be out for quite a while — maybe two months — so it’s just tough.”
The team said Love received X-rays at the arena that revealed a non-displaced fracture in the fifth metacarpal. The Cavs will update his status after additional examination and consultation on Wednesday in Cleveland.
After seeing his coaches and teammates at halftime, Love got in a car for the two-and-a-half-hour drive to Cleveland from Detroit, rather than fly and have the hand be subject to air cabin pressure.
“Down. Down,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said when asked about Love’s spirits. “It’s just part of the game. You hate to see anyone get injured at any point in time of the season, and now we’ve got to rally the troops, and we’ve got to have his back until he gets back.”
A few minutes after tip-off, Love grabbed his hand after making contact with Detroit’s Anthony Tolliver under the basket and bent over in pain. He tried to play through a couple more possessions before the injury became apparent.
He subbed out with 7:19 remaining in the first quarter and went to the locker room, accompanied by head athletic trainer Steve Spiro.
The hand injury will put Love’s availability for next month’s All-Star Game in jeopardy.
“He’s a big part of this team, and it’s gotta be the next-guy-up mentality. As a group, you’ve gotta bring what Kevin does. Not just one guy’s gonna bring what he does, ’cause he’s a special, All-Star-caliber player,” Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas said.
Love underwent surgery on the same hand in October 2009. That procedure required three screws to be inserted.
Last season, Love underwent minor knee surgery on Feb. 14, causing him to miss the All-Star Game five days later.
“It might be one of these things now where it depends on who we’re playing and the matchup,” Lue said. “Probably be on a matchup basis. We’ll just see going forward.”
Cleveland hosts the Miami Heat on the second night of a back-to-back Wednesday. Miami is 10-4 in the month of January and just a half-game back of the Cavs for the No. 3 spot in the East.
“When it rains, it pours,” Lue said.