Ricky Rubio returned to action after missing four games because of back spasms. And while he didn't make a basket, his impact on the Wolves' 108-103 victory over Atlanta at Target Center on Tuesday was unmistakable.
In 18-plus minutes of playing time, Rubio led the team with four steals, eight assists and a plus-10 rating. Looking as confident as he has since his debut this season, four of Rubio's eight assists came from creating wide-open three pointers, thanks to his penetration and sharp passing.
"Feels good," Rubio said of his back. "I felt a little out of shape, but it's normal."
And now, another test: When the Wolves travel to Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, Rubio said he will play. It will be the first time he has played on consecutive nights since returning from knee surgery.
Make no mistake. Rubio still is working back into shape and is still not 100 percent.
"My instincts are there," he said, smiling. "But the legs aren't there yet. They have to come back. But I felt pretty good. I can't complain.
"My first back-to-back, finally."Love, hand specialist to meet
Wolves forward Kevin Love will travel to New York City on Wednesday to have his broken right hand examined by a specialist.
Love will meet with Dr. Andy Weiland, after which a plan of treatment will be decided upon. That plan might include surgery. Weiland examined Love after the Wolves star fractured two metacarpals in his right hand while doing knuckle pushups at his home during training camp. Weiland also performed surgery on Love in 2010 after he broke a bone in his left hand during the preseason.
Love met with a local doctor Monday, but David Kahn, the team's president of basketball operations, said he wanted Weiland's opinion before moving forward; an MRI of Love's right hand was sent to Weiland on Monday.
Love re-broke the third metacarpal in his hand in the third quarter of the Wolves' game with Denver on Jan. 3.
Whether or not Love requires surgery, he will be out for a while. Kahn said Love would miss "a number of weeks."Wins, not numbers
Andrei Kirilenko entered Tuesday's game needing one assist to reach 2,000 for his career and one steal to reach 1,000. He reached the assist mark at 10:05 of the first quarter when he fed Dante Cunningham for a basket.
But don't expect Kirilenko -- who pushed past the 4,000 mark on rebounds a few games ago -- to save any mementos of the milestones.
"I've never really been a fan of personal achievements, because this is a team game," he said. "It doesn't matter how many points you score if your team loses. I think we forget about that sometimes. But it's nice to have. I mean, it means I played for a long time."Etc.
• Wolves coach Rick Adelman missed Monday's practice and Tuesday's game for personal reasons and the team is not certain whether he will be with the team in Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Top assistant Terry Porter took his place.
• The Wolves signed Lazar Hayward to a 10-day contract after he cleared waivers.