The 2011-2012 season started off solidly for the Minnesota Timberwolves, as they were a fringe playoff contender, but things quickly were derailed when point guard Ricky Rubio suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on March 9 against the Los Angeles Lakers and the team went just 5-20 without him the rest of the season.
The Timberwolves have made a lot of news this summer with trade rumors, pursuit of free agents, etc., which has left Rubio’s recovery from his injury in the background somewhat, but his return to health is one of the key questions when determining the team’s outlook for the 2012-2013 season as they look to end their long playoff drought.
Recent news has suggested Rubio’s next scheduled check-up with the surgeon that repaired his knee back in March will come next week and he said he hopes to begin running in September if he is cleared medically. It is unknown exactly when he will be ready to return to action if that timetable comes to fruition, but it’s fair to say the team will exercise caution with Rubio even if it means he does not play in a game until December or later. The fact that team medical personnel has been with him virtually all summer should give the team an excellent read on his progress prior to the start of the season and beyond if necessary.
Any hope the Timberwolves have for a .500 record or a potential return to the playoffs next season does not rest solely with Rubio, but having him healthy and playing well as soon as possible could give the team a midseason boost that other teams may only get by making a trade. That is assuming he is not active for the first game of the season, which has to be considered very unlikely right now.