Kevin Love's earlier-than-expected return to the Cleveland Cavaliers paid dividends against the Utah Jazz.
Love, who had not played since February 11, logged 20 minutes and came one rebound shy of a double-double (10 points, nine rebounds) to help Cleveland score an important 91-83 win over Utah in his return.
The four-time All-Star was a surprise addition to the starting lineup about an hour before tipoff.
He underwent arthroscopic surgery on February 14 to remove "loose bodies" in his left knee and at the time was given a 6-8 week recovery timeline.
But Love was cleared by team medical staff after participating in drills Tuesday and Wednesday.
Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said earlier this week Love was on track to return during Cleveland's upcoming four-game road trip, which begins Saturday.
Instead, he was able to settle in for a game at Quicken Loans Arena before hitting the road.
Not a moment too soon for the defending NBA champions, who went 7-6 with Love out of the lineup, ceding ground to the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards for the Eastern Conference's top seed.
The Cavaliers, now winners of two in a row, saw both Kyrie Irving (left knee tightness) and Iman Shumpert (sprained left shoulder) exit Thursday's game with injuries, though coach Tyronn Lue said both are "fine" and not expected to miss a game.
Love is in the midst of his best season in Cleveland, averaging 20 points and 11.1 rebounds before the injury.
22. November 2017
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|City fans get first sight of local star they crave in Phil Foden|
|Gunes wants more after historic Besiktas Champions League qualification|
|Allegri plays down Dybala-Messi comparisons|
|Extra rest helped Rose shine in Dortmund – Pochettino|
21. November 2017
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|It feels like we lost - Klopp frustrated at Liverpool´s second-half collapse|
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|Siddle excited by Smith´s duel with Root|
|Postecoglou leaves Australia post|
|Ronaldo overtakes Messi in Champions League goalscoring race|
|Manchester City 1 Feyenoord 0: Sterling strikes late as top spot is clinched|
|Sevilla 3 Liverpool 3: Klopp´s side fail to survive Spanish inquisition|
|Borussia Dortmund 1 Tottenham 2: Son grabs winner as Spurs seal top spot|
|Napoli 3 Shakhtar Donetsk 0: Insigne stunner helps keep knockout hopes alive|
|APOEL 0 Real Madrid 6: Record-breaking Ronaldo and Benzema send holders through in style|
|Monaco 1 RB Leipzig 4: Werner brace dumps Ligue 1 champions out|
|Memorable Ashes Moments: Triple wicket-maiden for destructive Johnson|
|Ronaldo breaks record for Champions League goals in a calendar year|
|´World´s Fastest Gamer´ wins McLaren F1 simulator role|
|History against England in Brisbane, as Cook targets Gabba milestone - the Ashes in Opta facts|
|I wanted to cry with Buffon - Rakitic sympathy for Italy great|
|Defiant Smalling responds to ´surprise´ England omission|
|Hughes ruled out of Samoa clash as Watson, Joseph omitted|
|MLB great Joe Morgan urges voters not to elect steroid users to Baseball HOF|
|Neuer ´on schedule´ but Heynckes won´t rush Bayern star|
|Messi contract saga not swaying Barcelona boss Valverde|
|Spartak Moscow 1 Maribor 1: Stoppage-time equaliser gives Russians everything to do at Anfield|
|Besiktas 1 Porto 1: Talisca leveller sends hosts through|
|Grand slams to reduce seeds from 32 to 16 from 2019|
|Mkhitaryan questions leave Mourinho riled|
|Jones out of Basel, Brighton games but Mourinho hopeful on Bailly|
|The Scrum-back Kid? Philips answers Scarlets SOS|
|Moore to retire from all rugby following Murrayfield Test|
|The Ashes: Australia and England leap into chasm of unknowns|
|Conte unhappy with Chelsea´s fixture congestion|
|Pepe tells Ronaldo: Come to Besiktas!|
|Clement expects Abraham to shake off back injury for Bournemouth clash|
|Oddo replaces sacked Del Neri at Udinese|
|F1 Raceweek: Contract talks for Hamilton, Alonso at Le Mans and Kvyat´s snub|
|Bartomeu hints at January Barcelona signings|
|Davis Love III to have hip-replacement surgery|
|Massa eyes final flourish in Abu Dhabi|
|Bears TE Zach Miller out of hospital three weeks after serious injury|
|Emery defends ´responsible´ Neymar from lifestyle criticism|
|Wales lose Williams and Cuthbert for All Blacks clash|
|Australia enlist Bolt to sharpen up Ashes preparations|
|Wimbledon will not be the same without her – Duchess pays tribute to Novotna|
|Del Neri sacked by Udinese|
|Everton striker Niasse facing two-match ban after FA diving charge|
|Wyatt makes history as England salvage Women´s Ashes draw|
|Lampard excited by English clubs in Champions League|
|Kvitova ready for ´second career´ to start in 2018|
|Williams deny Kubica deal has been agreed|
|Thiago and Coman back for Bayern´s trip to Anderlecht|
|Prior launches second Lyon attack|
|Dybala hails Messi as ´our Maradona´, wants to play with Neymar|
|Stokes has let England down - Warner wades in ahead of Ashes opener|
|Sherwood talks up Spurs as potential Champions League winners|
|Borussia Dortmund on the brink as Real Madrid eye progress - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Hughton hopeful on video assistance after Brighton denied penalty|
|Klopp staying calm over Salah form|
|Irving leads Celtics to 16th straight win|
|He Said What?! The Best NFL quotes of week 11|
|They don´t have magic balls – Cook plays down Australia pace attack|
|Falcons hold off Seahawks|