OAKLAND, CALIF. – Christmas has come and gone, and Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio didn’t reach the target date he once set for his return from an ankle he severely sprained seven weeks ago.
He is back running and now refuses to prognosticate the date of his return.
“I wish,” Rubio said Saturday when asked if he knows when he will play again. “I’ve been saying it’s two weeks for the last month. I don’t want to say anymore dates. I’ve been saying in two weeks I think I’ll be ready and two weeks go by and I still can’t play and I get mad. I don’t want to get in a bad mood again. I’m not going to ask for a date again. I go as my body will let me do.”
For now, he can run and he did so with teammates for the first time at Friday’s morning shootaround in Denver, where he participated full-court running the team’s offense.
He can run, but stopping is another matter.
“I can’t cut and if I’m running and I have to stop right away, I have to take two, three extra steps,” Rubio said before the Wolves’ 110-97 loss to Golden State. “It’s not going to work in the game. I need more of that [5-on-0 work]. It felt good. I want to feel great before I go to some contact.”
Rubio will have another magnetic resonance imaging exam taken of his ankle after the team returns home from this current three-game road trip. Wolves coach Flip Saunders said Saturday he is hopeful Rubio can advance to contact play — the next step toward a game return — if the image comes back clean.
“When you’re hurt, you know you’re back when you can run and stop and change directions,” Saunders said. “He’s not there yet.”
Rubio said he’s “pushing” to make his return, but not too much, not after the things he learned when he tore his knee ACL his rookie season.
“I came back from a tougher one with an ACL,” Rubio said. “I have experience. I know how hard it is. I’m going to take it easier this time. I think I pushed too much the last time.”
Martin’s productive trip
Injured guard Kevin Martin used last week’s game in Cleveland to get home to Zanesville, Ohio, for Christmas and to visit his surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic.
He was told his fractured wrist — surgically repaired Nov. 25 in Cleveland — is healing well. He is scheduled for another checkup in two weeks, six weeks after breaking his right shooting wrist Nov. 19 against New York.
“I finally got something done after the last four weeks,” he said about his productive trip back home to Ohio.
Caught in between
Wolves rookie Glenn Robinson III hasn’t found any playing time except for mop-up work despite his team’s losing ways, but he also hasn’t gone to the Development League either because his healthy body has been needed in practice and shootarounds.
“Hopefully when the New Year turns and we get some guys back, we can get him there so he can get some playing time,” Saunders said of the second-round pick from Michigan, who played seven minutes in the fourth quarter Saturday. “We drafted him with the idea we thought he was a future player. Things changed a bit [with the acquisition of Andrew Wiggins], but he’s a potential player.”
Getting his legs back
Injured center Nikola Pekovic ramped up his work on the anti-gravity treadmill Saturday, running at what Saunders called “80 percent.” Pekovic, too, will have an MRI done when he returns home with the team. If the test shows the necessary improvement, Saunders said the next step is for Pekovic to get back on the court running under his own weight.