Rubio Ready For First Full-Contact Practice This Weekend

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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Ricky Rubio spoke to the media after the Timberwolves’ morning shootaround on Friday, giving his first statements at LifeTime Fitness Training Center since learning he could rejoin the team in full basketball activities.

Rubio received clearance to participate in full-contact practice during a check up in Vail, Colo., earlier this week. He met with Dr. Richard Steadman, who conducted the March 21 surgery repairing his torn anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments, and after months of rehabilitation Rubio said he is ready for action soon.

“I think it’s 100 percent,” Rubio said about his knee flexibility. “Maybe one or two degrees less than the other one. But my knee, it feels good, it feels ready to go.”

[Related Content: CLICK HERE for Rubio's fully transcribed Q&A session with the media.]

Rubio said he has not yet participated in a full-contact practice, though he has taken part in 5-on-0 walkthroughs. He said he anticipates having his first full-contact practice this weekend.

“I don’t know how I’m going to feel,” Rubio said on practicing. “I don’t know if I’m going to feel great, going to feel weak, I don’t have any idea.”

It’s been an eight-month process getting to this point.

Rubio was doing running and cycling work as early as training camp, and his recent approval to participate in full practice is a significant step.

Rubio said the team’s medical staff did a great job in pacing his rehabilitation throughout the process, working with him in Minneapolis as well as flying out individually to Spain in order to work closely with Rubio throughout the summer.

This week was a major milestone in his road to recovery. Still, Rubio said as with any major injury the recovery can’t be rushed.

With all of the grueling work Rubio has invested since his March injury finally paying off, you could see the eagerness when the second-year guard spoke.

“The first game will have to be limited minutes,” Rubio said, “so I said ‘okay.’ But it’s going to be coach’s decision to put me in the court or not.”

One hidden benefit of spending so much time sidelined at practice is that Rubio has had the chance to observe from a different perspective. His plan is to step in when he is able and not skip a beat with the flow of the offense.

“You have to learn all the plays not only in your position, but you have to know where everybody has to go,” Rubio said. “I was feeling great the first time we did 5-on-0, because I was out a long time but I was following all the plays.”

Rubio did not address a concrete date for his return; it simply hinges on when he feels ready to play.

“It depends how the practice goes,” Rubio said. “I don’t want to think about dates, because I don’t want to rush it. I want to feel nothing at all about my knee. When that time comes, I will be ready.”
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