Ricky Rubio had missed all season while rehabbing a surgically-repaired knee. He suffered the knee injury in February and everyone involved knew it was going to take some time to come back from. But the wait is over. Rubio made his season debut for the Minnesota Timberwolves last night.
Rubio was limited to 18 minutes, which is to be expected. As he gets more comfortable playing, and as he trusts his knees more, Rubio will get more time. He finished the night with eight points and nine assists. He had just two turnovers in the game. It was vintage (as vintage as you can get with a second-year player) Rubio.
The Timberwolves blew a big lead, allowed the Mavericks to tie the game, and eventually pulled away in overtime. Rubio played a key role in the win, though. With the Mavericks leading by two, Rubio was fouled by Derek Fisher. Rubio hit both free throws and the game went to overtime. In overtime, Rubio came off the bench and changed the pace of the game. He helped the Timberwolves overcome an early OT deficit and eventually win 114-106.
Rubio's return means the Timberwolves can finally focus on the future. They have dealt with more than their fair share of injuries this season. Kevin Love was out early, and Rubio hasn't seen action since blowing out his knee. Now, the team can build toward success. And the truth is, that success could come this season. Minnesota is now 12-9 on the season. Depending on Rubio's level of contribution going forward, they may very well be true contenders this season.
Rubio is in his second NBA season after spending the early parts of is professional career playing in Spain. He has averaged 10.6 points per game and 8.2 assists per game in his career. He is a true point guard in a league that often muddies the position with score-first guards. His return will mean good things for the Timberwolves.
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