The Minnesota Timberwolves lost their sixth straight game Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers, dropping their record to 17-26 on the season. They have now lost 11 of their last 12 games as they quickly fade from the Western Conference playoff race, but there is some good news on the injury front.
Point guard Ricky Rubio is reportedly no longer on a minutes limit as he works his way back from a torn ACL in his left knee, and he has played at least 27 minutes in four straight games. More importantly his production has risen over the last three games, as he is averaging 10.7 points and 6.3 assists per game while shooting over 44 percent from the floor over that span.
Rubio is unlikely to suddenly start playing 40 minutes a game, and he may not have to with Luke Ridnour, Alexey Shved and J.J. Barea all healthy, but his increase in playing time and production is good news for the injury-riddled Timberwolves. Now that he is looking healthy, Rubio has a chance to assert himself as a leader and tone-setter for the team with Kevin Love likely out until at least early April. Surely the players that are healthy will benefit from his passing ability on the offensive end, and any scenario that leads to less playing time for Barea is good news in my opinion.
The Timberwolves do not look likely to become a playoff team this season, barring a very dramatic turnaround, but Rubio’s continued progress and intangible value to the team will be worth watching from here on out no matter what. Quite frankly, the Timberwolves will definitely take any bit of positive buzz they can get right now.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.