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The Cavs knew Kevin Love’s knee was injured, but didn’t shut him down

Love played at least three games with an injured left knee before having surgery.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love played at least three games with an injured left knee, according to Cavs coach Tyronn Lue. Love had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee earlier this week. Lue was speaking to the media before Wednesday’s game with the Indiana Pacers.

"It was already (hurt), loose bodies were already in there so he just played through it and then after it got to a certain point he got the MRI and he found out it was loose bodies floating around," Lue said.

Per Lue, Love was playing on a sore knee last Wednesday when the Cavs played the Pacers. A night later, after Lue had indicated Love, Kyrie Irving and LeBron would sit, all three played in what was ultimately a Cavs loss.

"He played through it, his knee was swollen a little bit," Lue said. "Then he came and got the MRI after that third game, and so, now we have the results."

Per’s Joe Vardon, a source within the Cavs organization didn’t fully know the severity of Love’s injury until it swelled up prior to the Cavs’ game against the Denver Nuggets last Saturday.

Lue also did say that players will rest moving forward and that he has to figure the rotation out.

"I definitely have to figure it out," he said. "And with the additional guys that we have now and Kay (Felder) and Liggs (DeAndre Liggins) and those guys can step up and be ready to play. D-Will's (Derrick Williams) been great for us. So guys just have to step up and be ready to play. We do have to manage that and we'll see what's right."

This does raise questions about the Cavs’ willingness to rest players, particularly their best ones. Even if Love was headed for surgery - and perhaps particularly if he was - playing him on the second half of a back-to-back doesn’t seem smart. Even now, still about two months away from the playoffs beginning, it should be all about resting players as much as possible.

If Love was injured, or if the Cavs even thought he was, siting him out was the smart play. And even if he doesn’t really want to, LeBron should get rest too. Ditto for Irving. There’s just not much upside to the Cavs playing their best players heavy minutes. It’s possible Lue wasn’t 100 percent right on the timeline, but even if that’s the case, it’s not a great look.