Rubio Suffers Torn ACL, Is Done For The Season

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) taken this morning revealed that rookie guard Ricky Rubio has a torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in his left knee.

Rubio, who will have surgery scheduled at a to-be-determined date, will miss the remainder of the 2011-12 NBA season. The injury occurred with 16.4 seconds remaining in last night's 105-102 loss against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Team President of Basketball Operations David Kahn said he expects Rubio to remain here for the rest of the season instead of going back to Spain.

“It’s a big deal to our team; he’s a big part of what we do,” forward Anthony Tolliver said. “He definitely gets a lot of people involved. He’s just a great leader out there as a point guard.”

Rubio has been a key member of Minnesota’s success this season, as the Wolves sit 21-20 and 0.5 games out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. In 41 games, 31 starts, Rubio averaged 10.6 points, 8.2 assists (5th in the NBA), 4.2 rebounds and 2.22 steals (3rd in the NBA) in 34.2 minutes per game.

Rubio led all NBA rookies in assists, minutes and steals while recording 12 point-assist double-doubles, ranking him third in the NBA, and he was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for January.

“I saw him this morning. He’s disappointed,” coach Rick Adelman said. “That’s the worst part about it. I’m disappointed or him. We’re going to miss him. He really sets the tone for the way we play. But he’s young, and the way he is, he’s so competitive, he’s going to get through this and he’ll come back.”

Tolliver said Rubio’s presence on the defensive end of the court is what drew his attention during the first two months of the year. Not only his ability to create steals, but Rubio was able to draw charges and corral other point guards in the league on a nightly basis.

It’s something Tolliver said will be a big part of Rubio’s game throughout his career.

“I was more impressed with his defense than anything else,” Tolliver said. “He had the type of defensive season that I thought would give him a reputation in this league as first team, second team guy as a point guard. He’s really good on that end.”

Tonight’s game against the New Orleans Hornets will be the first game Rubio will not start since Jan. 10 against the Chicago Bulls. Prior to the injury, Rubio had 15 points and 10 assists against the Lakers—his first double-double since Feb. 4 against Houston.

In his place, Adelman moved Luke Ridnour back in to the starting point guard role and inserted Martell Webster into the shooting guard spot against the Hornets. Adelman said rookie Malcolm Lee will be Ridnour’s back up as JJ Barea still is inactive with a sprained left ankle.

“It’s an opportunity for other people,” Adelman said. “We can’t just play the same; everyone has to play more when you lose a player like that. A lot of teams that I’ve had in the past didn’t take a step back when they lost someone—even a good player. They just move forward.”

But more than anything, the Wolves said they fully expect Rubio to bounce back from the injury and be ready for next season.

“Ricky has demonstrated throughout this entire season his competitiveness knows no bounds,” Kahn said. “His work ethic knows no bounds. If ever there was a player that was ticketed to have not just a full recovery but to come back better than ever, stronger, it’s Ricky Rubio. I have no doubt that come next season he’ll be back better than ever.”

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