Kevin Love did not play in the Cavaliers’ Game 7 victory over the Celtics. That’s because he entered the league’s concussion protocol when he exited early in their Game 6 victory after butting heads with Jayson Tatum midway through the first quarter.
It’s unclear if he’ll be available for Thursday’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Love accidentally butted heads with Jayson Tatum on an away-from-the-ball play midway through the first quarter of Game 6. He went down, held his head and immediately signaled to the athletic trainer/medical staff that something was very wrong.
Love exited the game and went straight to the locker room. That was terrible news for the Cavaliers, though they persevered to win Games 6 and 7. Love has a history of head injuries, including concussions in 2016 and earlier this season.
According to the NBA’s concussion policy summary, a player who is diagnosed with a concussion cannot return to any type of basketball activity that day or the day after. He must then pass a series of requirements, including being free of concussion-related symptoms while resting, an examination by a physician, completing the league’s rigorous return to participation exertion protocol, then being signed off on by the director of the NBA concussion program.
It’s a necessary set of steps to ensure a player is free of concussion symptoms. Now, we’ll see if Love will clear the protocol by Thursday’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals.