There were times on the court Monday when Ricky Rubio felt slightly out of time.
Or short of it.
Back for the first time in nearly three months after severely spraining his left ankle, Rubio played nearly 21½ minutes, scored 10 points with four assists and three rebounds against Dallas. But there was more there to be had.
“I felt like I was a half-second late,” Rubio said. “That’s a lot in basketball. I think I could have had a couple more steals, a couple more rebounds. But I wasn’t there because I wasn’t 100 percent yet.’’
But he’s OK with that. Rubio has already dealt with coming back from a major injury; he tore the ACL in his left knee during his rookie season. When he returned from that injury the following season, he dealt with the frustration of trying to play while not yet 100 percent. He learned a lesson that frustration doesn’t help anything.
“I knew how I felt, I knew I was not 100 percent right away,” he said. “So I learned a lesson. I’m not going to be frustrated this time. I’m just going to play through it. There is a process to go through after three months out. So I’ll play through it, even when I’m 75, 80 percent, and try to help the team.”
Rubio had eight points, nine assists and three rebounds in 23 minutes in the Wolves’ 102-101 victory over the Heat on Wednesday night.
Wolves center Nikola Pekovic, who missed 31 games because of chronic ankle soreness, has played in eight games since his return. And while some of the soreness in the ankle has returned, he said he intends to play through that pain for the rest of the season.
“It’s been up and down,” said Pekovic, who has averaged 13.0 points and 6.8 rebounds in 27.9 minutes since his return. “You have bad mornings, good mornings. You never know. Sometimes it get sore, especially after back-to-backs I get really sore. I’m trying to handle it as much as I can.”
Pekovic, who had 13 points and four rebounds in 21 minutes against the Heat, said he intends to work with medical personnel after the season is over in a search for a way to avoid this problem. Until then, he’ll have to play through it. “After it’s over, we’re going to try to figure out what to do,” he said. “I don’t know what’s the best solution. We’ll see when the season is done. But this is something I’ll have to deal with for the rest of the season.”
Coach Flip Saunders said the team needed to do a better job of watching Pekovic’s minutes. “We’re going to keep an eye on that,” he said. “He logged a couple games with some extra minutes. So we have to make sure we monitor that a little bit more.”
Wolves forward Andrew Wiggins was named the Western Conference rookie of the month for January, making it the third consecutive such award for Wiggins, the only player in Wolves history to win the award multiple times.
He is the first to win the award three times in a row since Damian Lillard in the 2012-13 season. Wiggins led all qualified rookies in scoring (19.8) and shooting percentage (47.1) for the month.
• Wolves guard Lorenzo Brown has been named to the Development League All-Star team. But it’s not likely he’ll play in the Feb. 15 game; he can’t if he’s still under contract with the Wolves. Brown, currently on a 10-day contract, has a good shot at sticking with the team for the rest of the season. He would have to be sent on a D-League assignment by the team to be eligible for the game.
• Shabazz Muhammad, who missed his 14th game because of an oblique muscle strain, could return either Friday or Sunday, Saunders said.
• Wolves players Anthony Bennett and Glenn Robinson will hold a free clinic for children from kindergarten through fifth grade at the North Community YMCA at 4 p.m. Thursday.