UPDATE: Monday, Jan. 7 at 1:30 p.m. ET
Great news for Minnesota fans and fantasy owners as Ricky Rubio (back) is expected to return to action on Tuesday, the team announced on Twitter this afternoon.
Injury Update: #Twolves Ricky Rubio is practicing today & expected to play Tue. Nikola Pekovic did not practice (hip strain) & is day-to-day— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) January 7, 2013
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UPDATE: Saturday, January 5 at 12:35 p.m. ET by Patrick Clarke
Ricky Rubio will sit out of Saturday night's game against the Portland Trail Blazers according to the Minnesota Timberwolves' official Twitter account:
Love and Rubio will not play tonight against the Blazers. #Twolves— MN Timberwolves (@MNTimberwolves) January 5, 2013
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The 22-year-old point guard has played in just five games this season after coming back from a torn ACL in his left knee.
Rubio was a spark plug for the Timberwolves in his rookie campaign last season, averaging 10.6 points, 8.2 assists and 2.2 steals, but the team still went 26-40 in a shortened season.
Current starter Luke Ridnour and backup Jose Juan Barea have filled in with Rubio out of action. Ridnour is averaging 11.3 points and 4.4 assists, while Barea is averaging 10.8 points and 4.5 assists.
The Timberwolves are 14-13 heading into the next two games against the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets. They rank sixth in the NBA in points per game allowed and second in rebounds per game, but 19th in points per game.
While Rubio isn't known as a top scorer, his ability to facilitate as a pure point guard helps Minnesota on offense.
Rubio, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft, has played in just 46 games for the Timberwolves since then. He can be a dynamic passer when he's on the floor, but he obviously can't do anything if he's missing time due to injuries. At 6'4", 180 pounds, it's not like he's a bulldozer rolling down the court.
The Timberwolves obviously need the Spaniard in the starting lineup, but it would be worse to rush him into action and risk further injury.