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Updated: April 10th, 2012 3:24pm
Wolves' Ricky Rubio staying positive but unsure when he will be back

Wolves' Ricky Rubio staying positive but unsure when he will be back

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS - In his first public comments since having two torn ligaments in his left knee reconstructed last month, Ricky Rubio said the surgery went well and expressed optimism about his recovery.

But the Minnesota Timberwolves point guard wasn't willing to make any promises about when he might return to the court next season. The rookie from Spain put the timetable at the wide range of six to nine months during a news conference Tuesday at Target Center.

"I don't know," said Rubio, who was smiling and relaxed, as he addressed the media from a table at the head of the press room. "It depends on the knee. Not everybody answers the surgery the same. We will see. I know right now six months is too far away for me."

Rubio, who was injured in a Wolves' loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on March 9 at Target Center, underwent surgery on March 21 to have his anterior cruciate ligament repaired. Dr. Richard Steadman also ended up having to fix Rubio's torn lateral collateral ligament during the procedure in Vail, Colo.

Wolves officials have previously expressed optimism that Rubio will be ready for the start of the 2012-13 season.

"I don't know if it's going to be training camp," Rubio said when asked if he expected to be 100 percent by that time. "I don't know when I'm going to come back. But the most important thing, the first thing that I want to make sure is that when I come back I'm 100 percent. I don't know if it's training camp, I don't know if it's the first week, second week. I don't want to put a date (on it) because it depends how my knee feels and we will see."

Rubio returned to Minnesota last Friday after beginning the rehab process in Vail. The plan is for him to visit Steadman in four weeks.

"We will see how the knee goes and everything," said Rubio, who likely will return to Spain at some point this offseason but now has no chance of playing in the Olympic Games this summer.

Rubio is hoping he also can get rid of his crutches in four week and begin walking and putting some weight on the leg. "It depends how Dr. Steadman sees the knee and we will decide," he said. "They will decide the process."

Rubio attended his first Wolves game since the injury on Monday night, although he has been watching plenty of basketball on television.

The Wolves' lost 114-90 to the Phoenix Suns at Target Center, dropping their sixth consecutive game and falling to 4-13 since Rubio left the lineup. The Wolves have had other injury issues as well, but Rubio is easily the team's biggest loss.

Rubio averaged 10.6 points, 8.2 assists (fifth in the NBA), 4.2 rebounds and 2.22 steals (third in the NBA) in 34.2 minutes in 41 games (31 starts) this season. He led all NBA rookies in assists, minutes and steals while recording 12 point-assist double-doubles, ranking him third in the league. He also was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for January.

"Seeing the team and feeling that you can't help them it's tough," Rubio said. "They have other injuries, not only mine. ... It's a tough season and it's tough when you can't be helping players on the court."

Rubio said that when his knee buckled in the game against the Lakers he initially didn't think it was that bad.

"It was hard because when I get the hit in the game, I was thinking about it hurts but not to be out for, I don't know, six, eight, nine months," he said. But when they explain to me the injury that I have it (made me) sad, mad. But seeing all the support from my teammates, from the Timberwolves and from the other players from the league and everybody (I) was feeling good.

"I knew that it was going to be a long process but, like I said, I just have to be positive. We can do nothing else but look forward because we can do nothing about it."

Rubio said that he has discussed the injury with other athletes who have suffered a torn ACL and also said that NBA stars such as Dwyane Wade of Miami and Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City have reached out to offer their support.

Asked if he is worried about being the same player he was before, Rubio said: "Of course, you always think in your mind about what can happen. Especially the first couple days after surgery, when you can't move your knee. You just think about it, and think if you can come back. But like I said, you just have to be strong, and do your best to try to come back even harder. I love basketball. I love playing basketball, and I'm going to do my best to play again." 

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Ricky Rubio
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