Ricky Rubio will be returning to practice soon, which means, if all works out during his first contact practices, his return to NBA games won’t be far behind. Minnesota’s sophomore point guard was cleared to practice a couple days ago after tearing his ACL and LCL on March 9, but today was his first chance to talk with media about the recovery. (Count on him being back by Christmas.) He’s campaigning to be ready immediately: “as soon as I’m ready, I want to play.” Now that he’s nearly back and we’re left to wonder about his first game post-recovery, it’s as good a time as ever to remember his eye-opening NBA debut.
It’s a perfect, and kind of cruel, opportunity to bring up his debut because the connector is obviously, doubt if only a different kind. No matter how many heads Rubio turned last year, the doubt that preceded his debut against Oklahoma City on Dec. 26 is back again, just for different reasons. After his sensational rookie season, the reservations now about Rubio are whether he can be the same player after two repaired knee ligaments. Contrast that with last season when, finally playing in Minnesota after a year spent in Spain, no one was sure if he could beat new world champion J.J. Barea for the starting point guard spot.
His final line in the loss to Oklahoma City: Six points, six dimes, five rebounds and no turnovers. The quantity wasn’t overwhelming — his 12 points and 12 dimes in game No. 3, against Miami, changed that quickly — but how pure his passes were. From looking off defenders before firing an assist the other direction, or wrapping bounce passes around a couple defenders, he made a claim that he could indeed play.
What do you think?
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