Kevin Love has been out of action since the end of January with a broken hand. Since that time, Cedi Osman filled in admirably before falling to an injury himself. At the same time, Tristan Thompson was injured and replaced in the starting lineup by Larry Nance Jr., who has laid claim to the role and doesn't seem to be willing to give up his new starting position. With Thompson trying to work on a return, it looks like Kevin Love might beat him back to the court, and the Cleveland Cavaliers could be one step closer to competing for the Eastern Conference's spot in the NBA Finals for the fourth year running.

Kevin Love's return date

When it comes to the Kevin Love return date, CBS Sports sent out a tweet on Wednesday that revealed the date could be as soon as nine days from now. The idea is that Love wants to be back on the court for the Cleveland Cavaliers by March 23.

Taking a look at the NBA schedule, that would put Kevin Love back in the Cleveland Cavaliers starting lineup in time for a Friday night game with the Phoenix Suns. Returning against one of the NBA's worst teams (19-50) is smart for both Love and the Cavs.

That is also nice timing because Cleveland won't have a back-to-back until two weeks later, giving the power forward time to get back into the thick of things with a day rest between every game his first two weeks back.

It will also give Love just over three weeks to get familiar with the new Cleveland Cavaliers starting lineup.

Cavs starting lineup with Kevin Love returns

Things have changed a lot for the Cleveland Cavaliers since he fell to injury in January. Out is Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder and in are some fresh faces that Kevin Love will have to develop a connection with.

Not only that but this week, the Cleveland Cavaliers made another huge roster change. JR Smith, who was part of the Cavs playoff team last year has been removed from the starting lineup after struggling this entire season. Replacing him is a player that was not even on the Cavs roster when Kevin Love fell to injury.

Before his injury, the Cleveland Cavaliers starting lineup was Kevin Love, LeBron James, Tristan Thompson, JR Smith and Isaiah Thomas.

When Love returns to action later this month, only LeBron James remains as a starting teammate for Love.

Unless the Cavs inexplicably reinsert Thompson to the starting lineup, the new starters when he returns will be LeBron James, Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr., George Hill and Rodney Hood. While no one could have expected it when the season started, this might be the best starting five the Cleveland Cavaliers have had all season.