Rubio Speaks With The Media About His Recovery
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It had been a while since Ricky Rubio met with media at the LifeTime Fitness Training Center, fielding questions while wearing Timberwolves practice gear and preparing for his daily workout. So long, in fact, that the questions this time around centered around how spent his summer months rehabbing from left knee surgery and when he’d make his return to the court for good.
There’s no question he’s ready for that day to come.
Rubio gave an update on his health on Thursday. He’s been running for three weeks on the Treadmill, doing a series of walk-run sets at 6 miles per hour while trying to get his reconstructed ACL and LCL strengthen and prepared for the 2012-13 season. Rubio said he’s aiming for a December return, but he’s not putting a definite timetable on his full recovery.
“It depends on how the knee goes. Now I’ve started running and it feels good,” Rubio said. “In three weeks I’ll start agility. If the knee swells, I’ll have to stop. If not, I’ll have to keep pushing it. I’m trying to do as much as I can. They have to stop me sometimes because I want to do more.”
It’s been a long road for Rubio, who underwent surgery on his left knee on March 21 after suffering the season-ending injury March 9 against the Los Angeles Lakers at Target Center. Since that day, he’s been on the long road back to sustaining the level of play that wowed and dazzled NBA fans during his first season—a campaign that earned him a spot on the NBA All-Rookie First Team.
Rubio said this road back is just as much mental as it is physical. It’s a grueling process that raises doubts from time to time, he said, but it’s important to trust he’s doing everything he can to return at full strength.
“It’s hard physically because it hurts you, but it’s hard in the mind, too,” Rubio said. “Because I want to do it, but I just have to wait. You feel how luck you are when you play, so it will be a blessing when I come back.”
From a medical standpoint, Rubio has his routine that he’ll continue to work through from now until he’s officially cleared by the medical staff in Vail, Colo., to begin full team activities. He said he expects one more trip to Colorado in this process, simply to shake the doctor’s hand and get his final clearance.
He’s begun working on his conditioning and joked he’s worked on his free-throw shooting enough that he hopes for 100 percent efficiency at the line next season. Meanwhile, his teammates are getting to work on the court—one more external step in this long process that gets him itching to be back for good.
The worst part of the entire process was hard to pinpoint, he said. Missing the Olympics and being unable to help the Wolves down the stretch were at the top of the list.
“In general, missing playing,” Rubio said. “Watching my teammates playing, it’s hard.”
That’s giving him the motivation to return to the court as quick as possible, but within reason. When he does return, it will be when his knee is 100 percent ready for the NBA game so he’s not rushed into competition and, subsequently, suffers another injury that forces him to miss more action.
They key is patience and hard work. In the meantime, Rubio said he’s planning to work as an assistant coach during training camp as he brushes up on the Wolves’ system and gets ready for his comeback.
“Try to be involved in as many things in basketball as you can without playing basketball,” Rubio said. “So just like watching all the videos, all the games, all the practices, just learning from that.”