Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio continues to make progress in his recovery from a torn ACL in his left knee, as a report surfaced he has started to run on a treadmill earlier this week. According to all reports he has suffered no setbacks and his recovery is on schedule.
But by the same token Rubio’s rehab is not being rushed along by doctors, and to this point he has been eased back into running and may not be cleared to jump until November. That seems to be the best course, since the Timberwolves have the backcourt depth to survive his early season absence and rushing Rubio back before he is 100 percent could jeopardize his long term health.
Rubio said on Thursday he hopes to return sometime around Christmas, echoing the sentiments of Timberwolves’ owner Glen Taylor from over a week ago. But Rubio also admitted he may not be ready to go until January, meaning he could theoretically miss close to half the regular season if he returns late in that month.
While Rubio is out, Minnesota will have to lean on Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea and offseason signing Alexey Shved at point guard. Barea is best suited to a role off the bench where his energy can be put to good use, and his injury issues last season make it unlikely coach Rick Adelman will want to give him heavy minutes anyway. Shved has the size (6’6″) to possibly be used at shooting guard along with fellow offseason acquisition Brandon Roy, who himself will have his minutes closely monitored due to his past knee issues and after sitting out all of last season.
Ultimately, having Rubio at 100 percent whenever he is ready to go is the most important thing for the Timberwolves this season and down the road. They are likely to be a playoff contender even without him early in the season, and his return to health after the first of the year could give the team a boost late in the season that other teams may have to get in a trade. It’s also safe to say the Timberwolves would be a tough out in the playoffs with Rubio back in the fold, even if they are a low seed.