Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio didn't have the benefit of a training camp when he returned two weeks ago from March knee surgery, and now his body is talking to him about him.
He missed Saturday's victory over Phoenix and didn't practice Monday because of back spasms that probably are due partly to eight months' inactivity and partly because Rubio is protecting that left knee.
"Because you don't trust the knee, you're doing different things and it hurts different spots," Rubio said. "Two weeks ago, it was my groin and now's it's my back, so I have to deal with that and keep pushing it. Your body says, 'You've been out for a long time and you have to take it easy.' But there is no break here.
"There are games every night. We're lucky it happened with three days between games so we can work on that."
Rubio is hopeful he can practice Tuesday and play Wednesday at Utah. He had hoped to talk to the team's training staff about playing his first back-to-back games at Utah and Denver this week, but then the back flared.
Wolves coach Rick Adelman expected as much with Rubio's comeback, which started with five games played before Saturday's absence.
"I always thought something was going to happen because he's basically going through training camp," Adelman said Monday. "He's going to go through ups and downs and soreness and it just happened to be his back. But he says he feels better. He's just a little stiff. We'll see how he is tomorrow."
The game must go on
Just F.Y.I.: Don't expect the Wolves to move the start time of their 7 p.m. Saturday home game against Portland just because the Vikings' playoff game at Green Bay kicks off at the same time.
There are at least two reasons why: The Trail Blazers play at Memphis the night before, which makes moving a start time fewer than 24 hours than they last played problematic. And the Wolves hold their annual all-day prep Shootout Saturday. The final scheduled game is 3 p.m. between Apple Valley and Robbinsdale Cooper and two hours are needed between the end of that game and an NBA game tip.