Another last-minute loss to the Lakers -- the Wolves 18th straight to them, dating to March 2007 -- finished a distant second Friday to concern about Ricky Rubio's knee injury in the game's final 16 seconds.

Rubio ended up on the court, clutching his left knee in pain, after he planted his left foot while trying to double-team Kobe Bryant and that knee appeared to buckle just before he and Bryant collided, creating a foul call against Rubio that sent Bryant to the line for the eventual winning two foul shots in the Lakers' 105-102 victory.

Rubio didn't talk with reporters afterward but tweeted later he will undergo an MRI on Saturday that's expected to reveal if he sustained any ligament damage.

Teammate Kevin Love a little later tweeted that he was praying for good news Saturday.

The Lakers went on to win, using Bryant's free throws to assume a lead they'd never lose and taking advantage to what Rick Adelman suggested afterward was their purple prestige: a goaltending call against Derrick Williams with 34 seconds left that Adelman and the Wolves protested and a no-call in the final six seconds when Williams drove to the basket and got his shot blocked in a crowd and the Wolves yelped for a foul.

It all seemed to matter little when Rubio was helped to the locker room by teammates at game's end and then left the arena limping and helped by a friend on a night when the Wolves already started without Love, who was a late scratch because of back spasms that Rick Adelman said had bothered him since he fell in Wednesday's victory over Portland.

Rubio went to the bench after getting injured and during the ensuing timeout held his hand over face and then bent over in what looked as much emotional angst as pain while head certified athletic trainer Gregg Farnam probed Rubio's knees with his hands.

When he tried to walk, he made it only a few steps between he had to be helped back to the bench.

The whole sequence reminded me of that night in New Orleans three years ago, when Al Jefferson came up clutching his knee late in a game against the Hornets.

He walked out of the locker room that night saying he felt fairly pain free even though he had felt a pop and the next day, he discovered he had torn his ACL.

That is what the Wolves fear most as they await results of Rubio's MRI on Saturday.

If it is something that serious, he'd join a list of Wolves' first-round draft picks since 2005 who all sustained significant injuries early in their careers: 2005 pick Rashad McCants (microfracture knee surgery), Randy Foye (kneecap stress fracture), Corey Brewer (torn ACL ), Love (broken hand) and now perhaps Rubio.

A few other things about Friday night: 

* Williams started at Love's power-forward spot and played a career-high 43 plus minutes -- including the entire first half -- and delivered his first career double-double (22 and 10).

Here is colleague Pat Reusse's column on DWill from Friday night. You can find it here.

* Nikola Pekovic came back after missing two games because of that sore and swollen ankle and delivered his 10th double double this season, although that 25-point, 13-rebound game still didn't have the impact of Lakers big Andrew Bynum and his 26-point, 10-rebound game that seemed to dominate the night.

* Adelman has asked a lot of little Luke Ridnour defensively this season, but Friday topped them all when he put Ridnour on Kobe Bryant, not World Metta Peace.

Ridnour started on Kobe, Martell Webster finished on him and together the two helped limit Bryant to 11-for-26 shooting even though he still got his 34 points.

* Forgotten amid Rubio's injury: He had his 12th double-double game of his rookie season and his first since Feb. 4 with a 15-point, 10-assist night.

* Yes, Pau Gasol played...and in a Lakers uniform, too.

Those trade rumors ran rampant once again when a Friday afternoon tweet said Gasol had been dealt to an unknown team.

"Nothing surprises me anymore," Gasol said. "It's easy to start a rumor, anyone can start a rumor. It's just a matter of who else continues to talk about it. It's never pleasant because it's going to put you a little bit on edge but I think it's going to be like that for the next six days. I just want the day to get here and move on from this show, a crazy show."

That's all for now from Target Center.

Kent's got Saturday night's game against New Orleans but I'm sure I'll be back on here before then with news about Rubio.






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