Saying Ricky Rubio had yet to see a doctor Monday afternoon, Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau was unable to give an update on his starting point guard’s sprained right elbow.
“The only thing as of right now is it’s a sprain,” Thibodeau said after Monday’s practice. “He’s going to see a doctor tonight, so we’ll have more information after he gets evaluated this evening.’
Rubio did not practice Monday. Later it was announced he will not play in the team’s home opener against Memphis on Tuesday night at Target Center. The question now might be how much time Rubio will miss.
In the meantime?
Next man up, Thibodeau said.
And that means, when the Wolves starters are announced with much fanfare prior to Tuesday’s game, rookie Kris Dunn should be hearing his name called.
“You don’t get here by accident,” Thibodeau said of Dunn, who was drafted with the 5th overall pick in the draft. “If you’re here, you’re a great player. You have to get in there and get the job done. You have to know what your job is, and go out and do your job.’’
Thibodeau didn’t indicate who would be the backup should Rubio not play. Tyus Jones was active for each of the Wolves’ first two games while John Lucas III was inactive. But Lucas, in his eighth season, played valuable minutes for Thibodeau when both were in Chicago.
Dunn seemed completely unfazed by the prospect of starting in his first professional home opener.
“I feel I’ve been getting good minutes,” he said. “I’ve been playing in some tough situations the last two games. And that’s the type of games I like to play in. So Ricky, if he doesn’t have the chance to play tomorrow night, or any other games, I’ll have to step up and be ready.’’
Dunn played just over 15 minutes in the season opener, making four of six shots, with eight points, four rebounds, one assist and a steal. Saturday in Sacramento he played nearly 20 minutes, making one of two shots with four assists and four points. He was a plus seven in the game.
The Wolves played without Rubio for the final 6:28 of the fourth quarter vs. the Kings. With Thibodeau having Andrew Wiggins do much of the initiation on the offensive end, the Wolves rallied from eight down to tie the game three times before ultimately losing. Down four with 37 seconds left Dunn missed two free throws.
Dunn said the intensity of the fourth quarter has been the biggest eye-opener so far his rookie season. “Everybody picks up their play, everybody goes a lot harder. There is a lot more detail,’’ he said. You can’t make too many errors. The last two games we’ve been in tough situations, and we made a couple errors and [the opposition] capitalized on them.’’
A couple other items from today’s practice:
--Asked if his shot was where he wanted it to be, Dunn said no. Emphatically. “Where I want it to be? Nowhere near,’’ he said. “I want it to be like Klay Thompson’s. I don’t know if that’s going to happen, but that’s where I want it to be. But I feel a lot more confident. That’s the most important thing with me, trying to get as comfortable as you can.’’
--Tonight at 11 p.m. is the deadline for the Wolves to sign either Shabazz Muhammad or Gorgui Dieng to contract extensions. If they don’t, they would become restricted free agents at the end of the season. Does he hope to get something done? “I’m always hopeful,’’ Thibodeau said.