One month after dislocating his shoulder while tangling with Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love said the two are now on good terms.
“About a week went by, I reached out to Kelly, sent him a text, said, ‘Hey, it’s all good,’” Love told reporters in Cleveland on Sunday. “You know, it was a tough play, and we just move on from there.”
The injury occurred with 5:22 left in the first quarter of Cleveland’s 101-93 win over Boston in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series. As Love and Olynyk chased a loose ball, Love locked up Olynyk’s arm before the Celtics forward shook free. Olynyk then clamped down on Love’s left arm. He said he was trying to hold him long enough for Celtics guard Avery Bradley to grab the ball.
But Love’s shoulder was dislocated and he immediately ran to the locker room. He had to undergo season-ending surgery and has been a spectator as the Cavaliers have marched to the NBA finals to face the Warriors. Olynyk, meanwhile, has received threats from Cleveland fans and was suspended for the first game of the 2015-16 season.
After suffering the injury, Love said he thought Olynyk had injured him on purpose and called it a “bush-league play” after the game.
On Sunday, he eased off that accusation a bit.
“Initially, I was very emotional about the play,” Love said. “I think because everybody thinks of, you know, ‘He’s gonna be able to come back, pop it right in.’ But at the time when it happened, I kind of knew [the injury was more serious].”
In an interview with the Globe last month, Olynyk insisted that he had not intended to injure Love.
“Obviously I would never intentionally hurt him or any player on the floor,” Olynyk said. “I don’t think anybody in our league would intentionally try and hurt someone, especially at this time of year.”
Olynyk said last month that his attempts to reach out to Love had been unsuccessful. Earlier this month in an interview with Cleveland.com, Love acknowledged that he had declined to return Olynyk’s calls and said he would speak to him when the time was right. When Love was asked on Sunday if he and Olynyk are now on good terms, he replied “yes.”
Love can opt out of the final year of his contract with the Cavaliers and become a free agent this summer. The Celtics could become a suitor, but there have been questions about whether the sour taste from the incident with Olynyk would make Love hesitant to consider Boston. Now, it appears that the simmering has subsided.