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.
|Olympic dream could prompt Bedene to re-defect|
|Janssen vows to fight for Tottenham place|
|Lions schedule criticised by All Blacks coach Hansen|
|Atletico should give Torres contract for life - Saul|
|Who has the strongest line up – Real Madrid or Juventus? We rate the title holders and the Italian c|
|Roma part ways with Spalletti|
|Pjanic out to expose Real Madrid weaknesses|
|Astros complete historic comeback, Jays score 17 runs|
|Angels star Trout opts for thumb surgery|
|Stanley Cup Final: Penguins escape with crazy win in game one|
|Strootman: Totti could play for another five years|
|Vunipola tips Farrell as future Lions captain|
|Saul: United target Griezmann important but no one is above Atletico|
|Strootman always knew he would extend Roma contract|
|Unexpected reaction to mixed medication led to DUI arrest - Tiger Woods|
|Angels´ Trout facing surgery for torn thumb ligament|
|Iniesta refuses to commit to Barcelona|
|Harper, Strickland land punches in benches-clearing brawl|
|Royals starter Duffy expected to miss 6-8 weeks with oblique injury|
|Warriors boss Kerr will travel to Cleveland, but might not coach|
|Halfpenny ready for Lions kicking battle|
|Higuain: I have affection for Real Madrid rival Ramos|
|AFC Champions League Review: Al Ain hit six against Esteghlal as Al-Ahli defeat Al-Ahli|
|De Villiers confident heading into Champions Trophy|
|Mladenovic battles through the pain, Muguruza up and running|
|Tigers star Eden continues hat-trick streak, Smith feels the pressure|
|Eintracht Braunschweig 0 Wolfsburg 1 (0-2 agg): Vieirinha seals Bundesliga survival|
|Buffon deserves Ballon d´Or for current form, not past achievements - Chiellini|
|French Open Diary: Agassi falls short in fashion stakes as champagne flows in sweltering Paris|
|No worries for Nadal and Djokovic but Ferrer needs marathon to progress|
|I hope he calls it a day - Adams urges Wenger not to spoil Arsenal reign|
|Allegri not worried by Juve final record|
|ICC Champions Trophy 2017: The time is now for England to end hoodoo|
|Batting collapse a timely reminder for England - Morgan|
|Another promotion campaign daunting for defeated Stam|
|Nadal questions Wimbledon seeding system|
|Bayliss confident injured trio will be fit|
|The pundits wrote us off - Wagner hails Huddersfield´s fairytale promotion to Premier League|
|ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Your guide to the eight teams|
|The night Valverde embarrassed Barcelona|
|Managing egos, sorting the defence and playing the Barca way - Valverde´s Camp Nou challenges|
|Valverde named new Barcelona boss|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Reading 0 (aet, 4-3 pens): Ward the hero as Wagner´s men go up|
|Djokovic to pick Agassi´s brains after ´rusty´ start|
|Nadal eyes serving improvements after Paire victory|
|Chiellini: Juve better than 2015 Champions League final loss|
|ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Cummins, Stokes and Bumrah set to star|
|Tiger Woods arrested on DUI charge in Florida|
|Proteas avoid whitewash as Amla reaches another milestone|
|Azarenka hails ´warrior´ Kvitova|
|Strootman signs new five-year Roma deal|
|Solomona faces fitness test ahead of Argentina tour|
|ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Why West Indies´ absence could become the norm|
|Hogenkamp backs renaming of Margaret Court Arena|
|Red card earns Coetzee a five-week ban|
|Nadal begins historic French Open title bid in style|
|Djokovic starts new era with win over Granollers|
|Muguruza must ´earn confidence´ despite 2016 win|
|Pellegrino leaves Alaves after Copa final defeat|
|Bye for now - Hart departs Torino after loan spell|
|BREAKING NEWS: Ter Stegen agrees Barcelona renewal until 2022|
|Bartra feared for his career after Dortmund bus attack|
|Defending champion Muguruza overcomes defiant Schiavone|
|Dortmund confirm knee ligament damage for Reus|
|Calm down - Mendy cools talk of City move with Paris video|
|AC Milan losing patience over Donnarumma|
|Another thriller could help oft-threatened Champions Trophy survive|
|Ferrari foresight puts Vettel in command ahead of Hamilton fightback|
|Lions schedule is essential preparation, says former coach McGeechan|
|Terry eyes Wembley return as a manager|