Ricky Rubio Out For Season And Olympics
Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio will miss the remainder of the NBA season and the 2012 Summer Olympics after sustaining an ACL tear, while facing the Lakers on Friday night. The tear was confirmed the following day in Minneapolis.
The injury occured in the final minute of the closely contested game, as Rubio attempted to double-team Kobe Bryant.
The 21-year-old Spaniard has also played an integral role in the improvement of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Last season, the Timberwolves finished with an NBA-worst 17-65 record, but thanks in part to Rubio, this year’s Wolves have won as many games as they’ve lost and are currently in the hunt for a playoff berth.
In 2009, Rubio was drafted as a stick-thin 18-year-old, but one who had been playing professionally in his native Spain since the age of 14. The Timberwolves had to wait two years before Rubio would come to the United States. Judging from the young man’s rookie season, it appears he was well worth the wait.
Rubio began the season as a substitute, but his energizing play quickly convinced Coach Rick Adelman to inject him into the starting lineup. Over the course of the rookie point guard’s 31 starts, the Timberwolves won 18 of 31 games.
Sadly, Rubio will not only be missed by his NBA team and highlight reel aficionados around the world. In addition, the Spanish National Team will now have to play without Rubio’s services during this year’s Summer Olympics.
In fact, Rubio was part of the Spanish National Team that earned a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics. At the time, he was only 17 years old. (Spain may have won Gold if not for the United States’ “Redeem Team.”)
In the more immediate future, the Timberwolves will have to adjust to playing without the immensely talented point guard, who was easily leading his team in assists at a clip of 8.2 per game.
Minnesota dropped its first game since the Rubio injury, falling to the hapless New Orleans Hornets on Saturday night, 95-89. In the losing effort, Luke Ridnour contributed 10 assists.
The team currently finds itself ninth in the Western Conference. The Timberwolves have not made the playoffs since 2004.