Rubio-Fever that struck Minnesota this year has been subdued with some heavy antibiotics in the form of an ACL tear that will sideline the young Spaniard, cutting his highly anticipated first season short.
Late in the 105-102 loss to the Lakers last night, it appeared that Rubio bumped knees with Kobe Bryant and went straight down to the floor. Upon further review of the play there was no contact before Rubio began to wince and collapse, a sign that immediately point to a serious injury.
The process of recvoering from a knee injury as serious as an ACL tear is not an easy one. Rubio is expected to have surgery later this week to repair the knee but getting it back to a healthy enough state to play is a whole other story.
Recovery is usually 6-8 months, and Rubio is already confirmed to be out for te season. The Wolves plan to place him on IR as soon as they can and hopefully pick up another point guard or high assists type player. Rubio will also miss the 2012 London Olympics, and beyond that there is even doubt he will be ready for the starr of the 2012-13 NBA season.
The loss of Rubio is a huge blow not only to the Wolves playoff push, put to fan morale which for the first time since the Garnett years, was through the roof. The Target Center has been selling out games at the last minute and in advance. A game against the Denver Nuggets near the end of the month is already sold out and marquee games that fall on the hallowed ‘College Nights’ fill the building with fans waiting sometime for hours to get tickets.
The Wolves will look to either trade to get a Kyle Lowry type player or try to comb the wire for a high assists type player to fill the void Rubio leaves. The fact that he wasn’t scoring the majority of the Wolves points doesn’t devastate their playoff ambitions, but it deals the swagger behind it a nasty sucker punch.
The one upside is that Derrick Williams may see a bump into the starting rotation with Rubio’s minutes available. However, one of the biggest things keeping Williams on a potential Rookie of the Year path was Rubio and his assists.
It’s that ripple effect that is casting a major cloud of doubt over a Wolves team that was finally learning to howl again.