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.
23. Juni 2018
|Uruguay v Russia: Selection posers for already-qualified pair|
|Federer scraps his way to yet another Halle final|
|Lunin rejected ´3,000 offers´ to join Real Madrid|
|On your bike! Iceland physio sent home after cycling accident|
|Not just Real Madrid interested in Fekir, says Aulas|
|France frustrated by officials again as All Blacks complete sweep in style|
|Jose Enrique reveals brain tumour surgery|
|The referee was a disaster, fumes Matic|
|Lakmal to captain Sri Lanka in Chandimal´s absence|
|Alli back in England training|
|McIlroy, Watson plotting moves as Harman leads Travelers Championship|
|Tearful Neymar is a joyful boy, says Jesus|
|Ruiz: Coutinho has the same quality as Neymar|
|Kovacic announces intention to leave Real Madrid|
|Red Sox edge Mariners in 34-hit extravaganza|
|Marquez asks Mexico fans to ´let them rest´|
|Fabregas hopeful of Spain recall|
|Milinkovic-Savic plays down Juventus speculation|
|Rashford inspired by Ronaldo|
|Messi is not a leader, he is no Ronaldo, claims Petit|
|Better than Ballack? Hodgson backs Loftus-Cheek to shine against Panama|
|Svitolina and Garcia suffer upsets|
22. Juni 2018
|Walker responds to Ferdinand criticism|
|Djokovic still hungry for more after reaching major milestone|
|Ellis drop goal earns Castleford dramatic win|
|Nigeria hero Musa unsure on Leicester City future|
|X marks the spot - Granit´s rocket sets World Cup first|
|Xhaka and Shaqiri follow the script as Serbia are derailed|
|Chandimal appeal against ban rejected|
|Real Madrid sign teenage goalkeeper Lunin|
|Serbia 1 Switzerland 2: Shaqiri strikes late to clinch crucial comeback victory|
|Suspended Srna joins Serie A side Cagliari|
|Cilic sets up Kyrgios showdown as Djokovic reaches milestone|
|Kudla up next in Federer´s Halle ´fight´|
|Assistant Farbrace to take charge of England for T20 games|
|Hummels hoping to be fit for Sweden clash|
|Hend surges clear as Fleetwood struggles again in Pulheim|
|Giant-killers Mexico embrace sudden weight of expectation|
|Roma complete €17.25m Kluivert deal|
|Pakistan name strong group for Zimbabwe tour|
|Choc Horror: Boullier insists McLaren do not hand out Freddos as bonuses|
|Neymar: Not everyone knows what I went through|
|Poland v Colombia: No time to dwell on regrets, warns Aguilar|
|Musa shows Messi how it´s done to set up critical Argentina showdown|
|Nigeria 2 Iceland 0: Musa brace boosts Super Eagles & Argentina|
|McLaren and Renault open to Ricciardo talks|
|We must win, we have no other choice - Maaloul|
|Germany will respond against Sweden, insists Low|
|´The best among all Asians´, South Korea trust in Son against Mexico|
|Stalin´s bunker an unlikely site for Russia´s World Cup charm offensive|
|England v Panama: Rashford tipped to start as Southgate´s side aim for last 16|
|Erasmus wary of ´wonderful´ Cipriani|
|Hummels to miss Germany-Sweden, confirms Low|
|Murray accepts Eastbourne wildcard|
|St Petersburg madness lines up Neymar and Brazil with heroes of the past|
|Martinez happy to be ´boring Belgium´|
|Japan v Senegal: Squeaky clean Group H rivals eyeing huge step towards last 16|
|Argentina team the worst in history - Ardiles|
|Ravanelli upsets wife by taking Arsenal job...in Kiev|
|Federer moves a step closer to 10th title in Halle|
|Brazil 2 Costa Rica 0: Coutinho and Neymar score in stoppage time to snatch win|
|Andersson: Sweden embracing big occasion as bug sweeps through team|
|LeBron in ´good dialogue´ with Cavaliers|
|Ronaldo will always be the best, Fonte claims|
|Southgate criticises press for England team leak|
|O´Mahony: Series win in Australia would be up there with Grand Slam|
|Khedira thrilled with Can capture, staying with Juventus|
|Samuel open to Higuain-Icardi swap deal|
|It´s just a game - Milligan disappointed by Kruse criticism|
|From drug-testing lab to gastro pub: Sochi happy not to forget dark past|