NEW ORLEANS - Recovering Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio came through his first set of back-to-back games feeling fine and said it "soon" will be time to let him loose.
That time just didn't come in New Orleans on Friday night, even though the Wolves once again played without J.J. Barea and with only 2.5 healthy guards.
"I'm feeling good and I want to talk to doctors and see when I will be ready," he said. "I think it be like soon."
Rubio played 18 1/2 minutes Tuesday night against Atlanta, 22 Wednesday at Oklahoma City and 21 1/2 Friday in the 104-92 loss to New Orleans.
"I felt normal, like tired but nothing at all on the knees so that's a good sign," Rubio said. "Nothing different from back-to-back when you're healthy."
Rubio said it's also time to ratchet down his fear and ramp up his game by looking to score.
"I have to do more to do my thing and score more and attack the rim even more," he said. "When you're coming from injury, the last thing you want to try is get hurt. When you attack the rim, there's more risk. I feel like my legs are ready to increase a level.
"That fear has to go away. It's something you have on your mind and you think about, but it's something that stops you. I have to break that and be more aggressive."
Not his time yet
Rubio said he feels ready to play unlimited minutes, but a return to the starting lineup apparently is another matter.
"I guess at some point when he gets unlimited minutes and he's playing well and Rick [head coach Rick Adelman] thinks that it's an opportunity to start, he'll start him," top assistant Terry Porter said. "But right now with him really limited on his minutes, the starting thing hasn't even come up for discussion. He's gradually working his way through it."
Adelman away again
Porter on Friday coached his third consecutive game while Adelman remains in Minnesota with his wife, Mary Kay, who is hospitalized back in Minnesota.
He will not join the team by Sunday's game in San Antonio but could coach again on Monday in Dallas, Porter said.
No J.J., either
Barea missed his second consecutive game while he seeks treatment for his back with a doctor in Dallas he knows from playing five seasons there with the Mavericks.
Porter said it is unlikely Barea will play Sunday at San Antonio, so if Barea doesn't come to the Wolves, then the Wolves will come to him. They play at Dallas on Monday.
"We'll meet at some point," Porter said.
Forward Lazar Hayward also didn't play Friday after he fell ill, which left the Wolves with nine healthy players (8.5 if you count Rubio as the half).
Porter's name was out there on Twitter on Friday evening, and not just because he was coaching the Wolves again.
No, former Wolves star Kevin Garnett spoke to reporters in Boston before a game Friday for the first time in 18 years and said it had been so long because a teammate his rookie year in Minnesota told him not to do that anymore after he had a bad game.
That teammate, of course, was Porter. "Well, OK, I don't remember that," Porter said. "That's good. At least he listened. He was always a good listener. It served him well."