Perhaps no team has been harder hit by injuries than the Minnesota Timberwolves, who finally got some encouraging news with point guard Ricky Rubio’s and all-star big man Kevin Love’s return to practice.
It’s still going to be a while before Rubio, who tore the ACL in his left knee last season, can join them in games. But just seeing him a little closer to a return is one of the first health positives this injury-plagued team has seen this season.
Rubio has started to do some light 5-on-none work in practice for the Timberwolves, his first on-court work in the long, grueling rehabilitation process.
Meanwhile, Love, who has yet to play this season because of a broken right hand, also joined in the instructional portions of practice on Sunday — a welcomed sight for a team that has played the last three games with just nine players.
”Just having them five-on-(none) gives you a sense that when you get them back we’ll be pretty good,” coach Rick Adelman said after practice. ”We can’t wait for them. We have to go out there and play. But it gives us a sense.”
Love is expected back at the start of December, while Rubio is hopeful to return to game action sometime in the middle of next month.
Rubio was injured in a game against the Lakers on March 9. Losing him coincided with several other injuries to turn a promising season south in a hurry, and the bad luck has followed the Wolves into this season. Love broke his hand less than two weeks before opening night. Chase Budinger is out three to four months after having surgery on his left knee and Nikola Pekovic (sprained left ankle), J.J. Barea (sprained left foot) and Brandon Roy (sore right knee) have all suffered injuries.
Roy will undergo arthoscopic surgery on his knee, which is an ominous sign for a player who retired two years ago because of knee injuries.