Rubio has not lost his flair

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 3, 2012 - 7:31 AM

After his first practice since a knee injury in March, his conditioning and stamina seem to be the only major questions.

Timberwolves veteran forward Josh Howard first met new teammate Ricky Rubio nearly three weeks ago, but he didn't receive a real introduction until Rubio returned to practice Sunday for the first time since tearing knee ligaments in a game last March.

"He threw a bounce pass between my legs," Howard said, "so I know he's still got it."

Howard defended Rubio for a good part of Sunday's shortened 90-minute practice because Rubio wanted to be tested by a long, physical opponent his first time out since his Vail, Colo., surgeon cleared him on Wednesday for contact practices.

"After long time, I'm on the court again," he said. "Pretty good."

Rubio waited nearly nine months for this moment, ever since he planted his left foot while trying to impede Kobe Bryant's path in a March 9 game against the Los Angeles Lakers, ever since he underwent knee surgery two weeks later to repair torn anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments.

"I don't know," Rubio said when asked if his body was where he expected it'd be after a long rehabilitation road back. "I mean, I feel pretty good. I want to be perfect. I wasn't imagining coming back and everything being perfect. It's not. I have to keep working and see where I'm at."

Rubio's court vision and instincts never left him.

Howard can attest to that.

"For the most part, I don't take too well to people doing that," Howard said about that pass threaded through his legs. "I consider myself a defender."

Rubio's conditioning and stamina still are somewhere yet to be found.

Wolves coach Rick Adelman can attest to that.

"He did all his stuff," Adelman said, referring to Rubio's between-the-legs pass and other fancy playmaking skills. "He showed that today. That's always going to be there. It's going to be his conditioning and his legs and how long he can go. He knows all the plays. He got to his spots and made his typical passes.

"It's going to be how long can he do it and for how many minutes can he do it and how's he going to respond tomorrow."

Rubio said Sunday he does not yet know how much practice he will need before he will be ready to play his game.

"I feel weird for a while," he said about Sunday's practice. "Until I'm great and don't think about my knee, I'm not going to play. But actually, I'm happy about today ... I try not to think about it, but sometimes when you do a hard cut, you realize you've been out for a long time. Your knee has some issues from the surgery again, but I feel pretty good."

Some parts of him feel better than others, of course.

"Oh, my lungs feel good, my legs feel tired," Rubio said. "I felt like I ran a 10K or something like that. I have to rest now, but I feel good and ready for tomorrow."

He said his lateral movement isn't what he wants it to be just yet.

"Still slow, but I'm working on that," Rubio said. "I've been working, but it's not the same working off the court and working with teammates being on the court. You can run, you can be in shape, but once you hit the court, it's just different."

Howard knows exactly what Rubio is going through. He tore his ACL during a game with Washington in February 2010.

He said it took him "almost a year and a half" to return to the player he was before the injury.

"But mine was different and I was a little older," Howard said. "First time I had a major injury like that."

Rubio, too, is finding his way through the first major injury of his career. The next step forward was Sunday's practice, when he discovered that his vision and flair haven't left him with that pass threaded through Howard's legs just like he did to Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki in his fourth career NBA game last season.

"Yeah, I did it," Rubio said with a smile. "It was fun."

  • WOLVES VS. 76ERS

    Up next: 6 p.m. Tuesday at Philadelphia • TV: FSN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 12 1st Qtr 4:18
New Orleans 17
Minnesota 10 1st Qtr 4:12
Oklahoma City 10
Orlando 18 1st Qtr 4:30
Memphis 23
Boston 8:00 PM
Utah
Denver 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Army 39 2nd Half 15:56
American Univ 38
Wright State 45 2nd Half 12:13
Detroit 32
Syracuse 56 2nd Half 11:31
North Carolina 56
Cleveland State 39 2nd Half 11:04
Oakland 43
Delaware State 40 2nd Half 10:16
NC Central 33
High Point 40 2nd Half 12:30
Presbyterian 34
Howard 25 1st Half 2:50
Bethune-Cookman 27
Coppin State 17 1st Half 9:39
NC A&T 22
Nicholls 25 2nd Half
Northwestern St 41
Hampton 25 2nd Half
SC State 31
Gardner-Webb 14 1st Half 11:15
Campbell 13
MD-Eastern Shore 0 1st Half 19:00
Florida A&M 4
Stephen F Austin 19 1st Half 12:34
Lamar 6
Central Arkansas 7 1st Half 14:20
New Orleans 20
Norfolk State 12 1st Half 12:37
Savannah State 11
TX A&M-CC 12 1st Half 11:40
SE Louisiana 11
Sam Houston St 13 1st Half 16:12
Abilene Christian 5
McNeese State 18 1st Half 10:20
Incarnate Word 12
Milwaukee 5 1st Half 9:21
Valparaiso 23
Alcorn State 7:30 PM
Alabama A&M
Southern U 7:30 PM
Alabama State
Prairie View 8:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Texas 8:00 PM
Iowa State
Texas Southern 8:00 PM
Miss Valley St
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
Southern U 52 2nd Half 1:25
Alabama State 47
(12) Texas A&M 42 2nd Half 11:58
(1) South Carolina 49
Robert Morris 55 2nd Half 8:53
Mount St Marys 32
East Tenn St 57 2nd Half 6:49
Mercer 53
Wofford 44 2nd Half 10:57
Furman 37
Morehead St 55 2nd Half 7:32
Tenn Tech 39
Illinois 41 2nd Half 11:38
Michigan 53
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 8:00 PM
Auburn
(15) Nebraska 8:00 PM
(20) Iowa
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local team is currently the biggest disappointment?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close