The Minnesota Timberwolves march back to respectability, received a devastating blow on Friday night, as the “Star-Tribune” reported on Saturday that the team has lost rookie starting point guard Ricky Rubio, after he tore his left ACL in a 105-102 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. The native of Spain, injured himself late in the Friday night contest while trying to keep Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant from scoring. The rookie must have planted his left foot badly, as he fell to the floor holding his left knee without having any contact with Bryant. His teammates had to help him first get to the club’s bench and eventually the team’s locker room as he could not put any weight on his left leg.
Rubio has been a key part of the T-Wolves resurgence this season, as he played his way into the starting lineup ten games into the campaign. Minnesota, mired in last place in the Association last year, have started to look like legit contenders; after the loss on Friday, they have a record of 21-20 and trail the Houston Rockets by just half a game for the eighth Playoff slot in the Western Conference.
The paper reported that the 21-year-old guard had an MRI performed on Saturday morning, which confirmed the injury’s severity. Typically the rehab time for a torn ACL is six to nine months, which would most likely prevent Rubio for playing for Team Spain in the Summer Olympics that will be held in London later this year.
The point guard finally decided to sign with Minnesota before this season after the team had drafted him as the fifth pick of the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft. Rubio chose to stay in Spain, playing for Barcelona for two seasons before making the jump to the Association this year. He was having a respectable campaign in his maiden voyage in the NBA, as he averaged 10.6 points, 8.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds per contest in 41 games this season.
The team has yet to comment on whether they will try to trade for another point guard to fill Rubio’s slot on the roster, or if they will stand pat with their two point guards, veterans Luke Ridnour and Jose Juan Barea. The Spanish native, quickly became one of the T-Wolves most popular players along with All-Star forward Kevin Love. His pop-star looks as well as his talent on the hard wood have started bringing fans back to the Target Center this year.