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Wolves’ Love Re-Fractures Hand

Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love (42) pulls down a defensive rebound against Phoenix Suns' Shannon Brown (26) and Luis Scola, of Argentina, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Kyndell Harkness) MANDATORY CREDIT; ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS OUT; MAGS OUT; TWIN CITIES TV OUT.

Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love (42) pulls down a defensive rebound against Phoenix Suns' Shannon Brown (26) and Luis Scola, of Argentina, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Kyndell Harkness) MANDATORY CREDIT; ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS OUT; MAGS OUT; TWIN CITIES TV OUT.

Minneapolis — The injury-riddled Minnesota Timberwolves lost star forward Kevin Love to a broken right hand for the second time this season when an MRI confirmed the injury yesterday.

Love re-fractured his third metacarpal in the hand, and the team said it expects to know more about a timetable for his return after he is examined by a hand specialist in New York.

The original injury, which occurred on Oct. 17, sidelined Love for the first three weeks of the season and has hampered his shooting. He re-injured the hand during the third quarter Thursday night at Denver.

“He’s a huge part of what we were hoping to do and now we have to find other ways to do it,” coach Rick Adelman said before last night’s game against Portland. “Even in the game in Denver, people talk about his shooting, but he had 13 rebounds at halftime and 13 points. That’s two big numbers. We have to find a way to manufacture those numbers and find a different way to play.”

Love is averaging a team-best 18.3 points and 14.0 rebounds in 18 games.

It’s the latest in a long list of key injuries for the Wolves during the first half of the season. Ricky Rubio, who was scratched for last night’s game with back spasms, missed the first 20 games of the season while he continued his recovery from knee surgery. Brandon Roy, Malcolm Lee and Chase Budinger are out with knee injuries, and Josh Howard was waived in late December after a season-ending knee injury.

“I’ve never been through anything like this,” Adelman said. “You start out with Ricky from the very beginning, hoping to get him back and then it’s just been one thing after the other.”

Rubio also missed the previous three games with back spasms. The Timberwolves are being cautious with dynamic point guard, who started experiencing back problems not long after he returned after missing nine months due to the knee injury. Adelman has said Rubio might be overcompensating for his recovering knee, which could lead to other issues.

“We’re 15-14 and I’m trying to figure out how we were able to get there,” Adelman said. “This team does have resolve about them.”