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Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio

Jim Gehrz, Star Tribune

Rubio's back gets rest, but stamina is sore spot

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA
  • Star Tribune
  • January 5, 2013 - 11:48 PM

And on the same day the Timberwolves discovered Kevin Love has broken his shooting hand again, Ricky Rubio missed his third consecutive game because of a back issue that the team has called stiffness and spasms.

Wolves coach Rick Adelman said he's hopeful Rubio will play Tuesday against Atlanta but said his conditioning now will be an issue when he is cleared to play.

"He had the bad back so he couldn't do anything," Adelman said. "He's a tough kid, but that can be deflating to him because he's starting to come and now his conditioning is an issue again. So don't ask me about the minute limitations."

Rubio worked hard with assistant coach Terry Porter running and shooting after Saturday's morning shootaround but was deemed not ready to play.

Pekovic hurting

Wolves starting center Nikola Pekovic in Saturday's third quarter aggravated a hip injury he sustained in Thursday's victory at Denver and did not play the game's final 16 minutes after delivering a 21-point, 15-rebound night up until then.

He rode the exercise bike hoping to stay loose enough to play in the fourth quarter, but Adelman said he wasn't about to put Pekovic back into a game in which the Wolves trailed by 20 points early in the fourth.

"I don't know, probably not so much serious," Pekovic said about his hip. "I'll see tomorrow."

Etc.

• Gophers coach Tubby Smith, Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg and North Carolina's Roy Williams all stopped by Target Center earlier Saturday to watch recruiting prospects play in the Timberwolves' annual prep shootout that featured Apple Valley's Tyus Jones and Cooper's Rashad Vaughn.

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