Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Final steps: Rubio is Vail-bound this week

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves injury report, Wolves pre-game, Wolves news Updated: November 24, 2012 - 9:20 PM

Now that Kevin Love is back in the lineup and ready for this third game back tonight against Golden State...

Ricky Rubio likely isn't all that far behind.

Rubio is scheduled to return to his Vail, Colo., surgeon on Monday for a three-day visit after which the Wolves hope he will be cleared for contact practice when the team returns from this trip after Wednesday's game in L.A.

Some time ago Rubio said that last visit to see Dr. Richard Steadman would be mostly to shake up hand and get clearance to go back on the court.

The Wolves are hoping that day is very near.

Don't expect his game return to be as sudden as Love's, though.

David Kahn said he still isn't putting a timetable on Rubio's return, as he hasn't done all along.

But there's no question Rubio's return is getting closer, maybe closer than expected, particularly if you weren't expecting him back until Christmas or later.

He's been working out quite vigorously on his own before games -- just saw him working up a sweat shooting and doing other drills -- and it's certainly possible he could be back in a game perhaps even sometime that first week of December, or shortly thereafter..

After watching Damian Lillard and Wes Matthews torch the Wolves Friday night in Portland, they could certainly use his defense.

"When he was healthy last year, he was very good keeping the people in front of him," Rick Adelman said. "He was able to control the guard he was guarding and not let him get around him. He was in the Top 5 in steals. He was alwas in the right spot defensively as a team defender, too. He'll help us. He's give us a little more size there. His instincts will help us a lot."

A couple other things:

* Brandon Roy spent Thanksgiving in the Twin Cities rather than Seattle or Portland because he can't fly for 10 days after his surgery last week due to the threat of blood clots.

* Chase Budinger is due back to see his Florida surgeon in about a month to check on his recovery. Adelman last night said Budinger assures him he'll back by March. That's four months and the initial timeline was three to four months so he certainly should be back by then.

 

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