NBA notebook — Feb. 7

Associated Press

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This was supposed to be the season of Love.

Kevin Love came to training camp with sky-high expectations for himself and the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was planning to use last year’s breakout performance and the confidence gained from playing a vital role in Team USA’s march to the gold medal at the London Games as a springboard to elite status in the NBA. What has followed has been a monumentally frustrating season.

“I think there’s a lesson to be learned with everything,” Love said on Thursday in his first day back at practice since having surgery Jan. 15. Love has broken his shooting hand twice this season, first in the preseason and then again on Jan. 3 in a game against Denver.

Love has yet to be cleared for contact, but he does hope to be back by mid-March. He said his hand feels much better after the surgery than it did when he let it heal on its own the first time, and he’s trying to get back to salvage something.

“That decision will be made purely on where he is and how healthy he is,” coach Rick Adelman said. “The time for that is later. It’s not right now.”

Surgery for Hawks guard

Atlanta Hawks guard Lou Williams had reconstructive surgery on his right knee and will now begin a long rehabilitation period that could leave his status in question for the start of next season.

Williams tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee in the Hawks’ game at Brooklyn on Jan. 18, ending his season. The ligament was repaired Thursday by doctors in Gulf Breeze, Fla. The recovery period for reconstructive knee surgeries can last from nine months to a year.

Williams, in his first season in Atlanta, was third on the team with his average of 14.1 points. He signed with the Hawks as a free agent after averaging a career-best 14.9 points with Philadelphia last season.

Lakers’ Howard back

Dwight Howard started for the Los Angeles Lakers after missing three games with a sore right shoulder. Howard said before the game against the Boston Celtics that it would be a game-time decision whether he would play. Howard has a torn labrum in his shoulder.

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