ORLANDO - Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio played Monday night in Orlando in his second game back from March knee surgery, which means, according to the team's strategy, he will not play Tuesday in Miami against LeBron James and the Heat in a fan-chosen NBA TV game.

"Depends how I feel, but that's the plan," he said.

By saying that, Rubio left the door open slightly to change a plan that says he will not play the second game in back-to-back situations.

And Wolves coach Rick Adelman quickly closed it.

"That's what we talked about from the very beginning, I can't imagine us changing that," Adelman said. "We'll see how he feels, but I can't imagine us changing that with the schedule the way it is."

Adelman said they never considered resting Rubio so he could play against the defending champs on national television. He said Rubio will be rested Tuesday so he has two days off before the Wolves play Oklahoma City on Thursday evening on TNT in an unusual 6 p.m. start.

"Yes, of course," Rubio said when asked about wanting to play in Miami, "but I have to follow the rules."

Rubio again was put an 18-minute limit for playing time on Tuesday.

Adelman said he doesn't know how long Rubio's minutes will be measured or how long the back-to-back policy will remain. He said it will be determined on a game-by-game basis. Rubio played 16 1/2 minutes Tuesday, missed his three shots and had four assists, three turnovers and a steal.

Back in Love

Kevin Love returned after missing Saturday's game after he fell ill before the opening tap, went home and slept through the game.

Both Love's thumb and coloring -- he appeared very pale when he arrived at Target Center on Saturday -- were improved Monday. So was his mood both on a day he made 10 of 20 shots and had a 23-point, 15-rebound double-double after shooting 7-for-35 in his two previous games.

Interesting that the guy who caused such a commotion with his comments to Yahoo!Sports last week said he spoke unifying words to his coaches and teammates on Monday, telling everybody that whatever happens they'll get through it together.

"I'm definitely in good spirits," he said, "especially if we could keep winning games. That's going to make everyone happy."


• Shooting guard Brandon Roy (knee) has been cleared to practice with the team and envisions playing soon -- perhaps as early as next week -- if all goes well when the team next practices on Saturday.

• Small forward Josh Howard is eyeing Sunday's game at New York for his return from a hyperextended knee sustained Friday in New Orleans. Howard is on the trip to provide moral support, and because his mom lives in Orlando.

• Center Nikola Pekovic consulted with Orlando doctors in the Wolves' training room after the game because of what the team called a sore back. He had a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double in nearly 36 minutes Tuesday.