MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Ricky Rubio is back on the practice court with the rest of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It's still going to be a while before he can join them in games, but just seeing their dynamic point guard inching closer to a return is one of the first health positives this injury-plagued team has seen this season. Rubio has started to do some light five-on-none work in practice for the Timberwolves, another encouraging sign in his long rehabilitation from a torn ACL in his left knee.
Kevin Love, who has yet to play this season because of a broken right hand, also joined in the instructional portions of practice on Sunday. It was a sign that help is on the way for a team that has played the last three games with just nine players, even if it doesn't come until next month.
"Just having them five-on-(none) gives you a sense that when you get them back we'll be pretty good," coach Rick Adelman said after practice. "We can't wait for them. We have to go out there and play. But it gives us a sense."
Love is expected back at the start of December, while Rubio is hopeful to return to game action sometime in the middle of next month.
Rubio was injured in a game against the Lakers on March 9. Losing him coincided with several other injuries to turn a promising season south in a hurry, and the bad luck has followed the Wolves into this season. Love broke his hand less than two weeks before opening night. Chase Budinger is out three to four months after having surgery on his left knee and Nikola Pekovic (sprained left ankle), J.J. Barea (sprained left foot) and Brandon Roy (sore right knee) have all suffered injuries that the Wolves are hopeful have much shorter recovery times since the season began.
Despite all the injuries, the Wolves won five of their first seven games. But they've lost two in a row, with Andrei Kirilenko saying after the loss to Golden State on Friday night that it appeared the short-handed team was running out of gas.