Archives For ACL injury

We’re all wondering when Ricky Rubio will be back for the Timberwolves to throw inspirational bounce passes back into our collective hearts.

It’s pretty improbable that he’d be back for the start of the regular season, considering he hasn’t started doing many exercises with heavy impact (i.e. – running and basketball related workouts/drills). That would have put him just under eight months from the injury in a rehabilitation window that usually spans anywhere from six to twelve months.

Charley Walters recently talked to Glen Taylor about Ricky’s recover and Taylor had this to say (via ProBasketballTalk):

“The doctors said he was progressing faster than normal, and normal was supposed to be in January,” Taylor said Tuesday, Aug. 14, a day before heading to China on a two-week charity mission. “Faster than normal would be December. He’s going to start running and stuff in a few weeks.”

I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again. Just about everybody with a knee injury as severe as this one is ahead of schedule before they do impact exercises. When those begin, we start to see just what the actual schedule for returning to the court is. But that doesn’t mean Ricky won’t be back before the new year is born.

My guess on the schedule would be December 20th for his 2012-13 debut. That’s the first big time nationally televised game for the Wolves, when they face the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Target Center on TNT. It’s late enough into December to be a realistic return date, and would generate an immense amount of buzz for the team and the telecast.

Of course, that’s just a guess on my part. Perhaps he’ll be back sooner or maybe they’ll be cautious with him and keep him out until January. I know there seems to be a lot of pressure to win now and make the playoffs this year, but I’d rather see him fully recovered and continue to be handled in a responsible manner over rushing him back to the court to feel better about the Wolves chances this season.

Until then, we have the YouTube machine:

Life after Ricky

Benjamin Polk —  March 12, 2012 — 2 Comments

Ricky, we already miss you. Its hard to tell if Saturday’s performance against the Hornets was simply the product of an emotional hangover or if its simply what we can expect from the post-Ricky Wolves. Either way, it was an unlovely melange of poor shot selection, stagnant ball-movement and listless, unaware defense. As Rick Adelman put it afterwards, (via Kent Youngblood at the Strib) “I thought maybe it was the worst game in a long time defensively for us. No communication, ball-watching, not playing as a team.” True that.

It’s an ominous moment for your Timberwolves. Rick Adelman’s arrival notwithstanding, it often seemed that the only thing standing between this year’s Wolves and the gauzy nightmare of the Wittman/McHale/Rambis era was the floppy-haired Catalan hope machine.  Without him, things feel a little scary.

By way of providing solace, Truehoop points out that, despite the surplus of charming smiles, warm feelings and ecstatic moments, Rubio had hardly transformed the Wolves into a titan of offensive efficiency. Last season, the Wolves scored 101.1 points per 100 possessions, this year they’re scoring 101.5 pts/100. Because of this season’s league-wide, lockout-induced offensive tumble, that number is good for 14th in the NBA, but the point remains. What’s more, according to 82games, the Wolves offense was exactly as efficient with him on the floor as off. On the other hand, it seemed clear on Saturday that without Rubio’s probing ballhandling and preternatural vision, there were fewer open shooters, fewer rhythmic spot up jumpers.

On the other other hand, as we’ve already discussed, Rubio was probably even more integral to the Wolves’ defensive renewal. The team was 3.3 points/100 possessions better defensively when he was on the floor this season. The lack of Ricky’s ability to create turnovers, disrupt the pick-and-roll game and conjure frenzied defensive energy was painfully evident against New Orleans.

So how does this affect the Wolves’ decision-making moving forward? Well, as Jerry Zgoda pointed out to ESPN, this probably means the team won’t be looking to move Luke Ridnour, the only Wolf left with any natural-born ball-distribution skills, not to mention their best perimeter scorer,  any time soon. And most observers seem to agree that, short of possibly moving Mike Beasley for a draft-pick (would any vampires in the audience care to glamour the Nets into parting with their first-round pick?), the Wolves are best served by standing pat. After all, their long-term needs are still most glaringly at shooting guard and in the middle. Here’s how Zach put it in his most recent 5-on-5 appearance:

I’ll say no move for the backcourt is necessary right now. Ridnour has been one of the more unheralded role players this season and is capable of keeping Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love scoring at high clips. The key will be getting Barea healthy and seeing if Malcolm Lee can provide a spark. Now, if they want to go after Pau Gasol to add elite size, that’s a much better plan to me.

Which, yes, agreed. But can you see any combination of Timberwolves short of Kevin Love or Ricky himself that could entice the Lakers into moving Gasol? Well I can’t.

After all, Rubio’s most significant contribution, as attested to by the recent outpouring of Twitter love, was spiritual. And it was that loss–the way he made us feel, the way he inspired his teammates to play–that was felt most acutely on Saturday.