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Cavaliers Rumors: Ricky Rubio Targeting Return from Knee Injury vs. Trail Blazers

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 11, 2023

Cleveland Cavaliers' Ricky Rubio moves the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, in Washington.(AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Ricky Rubio is aiming to end his yearlong absence due to a torn left ACL on Thursday against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Rubio plans to practice Wednesday and will suit up Thursday "if all goes well."

Rubio suffered the injury against the New Orleans Pelicans on Dec. 28, 2021. The 32-year-old averaged 13.1 points, 6.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 34 games (eight starts) prior to the injury.

Rubio signed a three-year, $18.4 million contract with the Cavs last offseason, marking his second stint with the team.

Rubio initially joined Cleveland in August 2021 when the Minnesota Timberwolves traded him for Taurean Prince and a second-round draft pick. The Cavs then traded Rubio to the Indiana Pacers on Feb. 7 as part of a deal that brought in Caris LeVert.

Rubio has played a big part in the Cavs' year-to-year improvement. Cleveland went 22-50 the season before Rubio's arrival but nearly matched that win total (20-14) in games he played in 2021-22.

There were other reasons for that success, such as an excellent rookie season from Evan Mobley and All-Star performances from Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen, but Rubio helped the team get off to a great start en route to a 44-38 mark.

This year's Cavs find themselves in the thick of the race in the East with Donovan Mitchell (29.3 points per game) on board after an offseason trade with the Utah Jazz. They sit 26-16, three-and-a-half games behind the Boston Celtics for first in the conference.

Rubio figures to slide into a reserve role to help solidify the backcourt rotation, and his return is a huge boost for a team that looks like a legitimate contender to make the NBA Finals.