Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio to make season debut Saturday for Timberwolves


Ricky Rubio will make his season debut Saturday night when the Timberwolves host the Mavericks, the team announced via official release.

Rubio tore both his ACL and LCL last March, and hasn’t played in a game since.

“I’m excited to get back on the floor with my teammates and play in front of the best fans in the NBA at Target Center,” said Rubio. “After a long recovery, this is the first step in me getting back on the court and helping my teammates. Thank you to the fans for their support over the last nine months.”

It’s been a very up-and-down start to the season for the Timberwolves, mainly due to a rash of injuries. Rubio and Kevin Love weren’t expected to be back by opening night, but the team also saw Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger go down, as well as Malcolm Lee most recently.

Through it all, though, and since Love’s return, the Timberwolves have begun to get back on track, winning three straight and five of their last six. Minnesota is 11-9 on the season.

Dallas will be looking to rebound after losing two straight on the road — a respectable one in overtime in Boston, and then a hard-to-believe 21-point loss in Toronto two days later against one of the league’s worst teams.

Rubio’s return should be exciting to watch; despite all the injuries, Luke Ridnour and Alexey Shved will provide depth behind him at the point guard position, and the flair and style with which Rubio plays should make everyone around him better almost immediately.

We’ll see how long it takes for Rubio to get back into game shape and be the player he was before going down with injury. But once he’s at full strength, Minnesota should not only be a fun team to watch, but a dangerous one, as well.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.

Kevin Durant with huge dunk on visiting Fenerbahce Ulker

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Welcome to America, Fenerbahce Ulker.

The Turkish powerhouse was in America playing some exhibition games this preseason, and they got a first-hand reminder that Kevin Durant is back. KD had 13 points in the Thunder’s easy 111-81 win.

Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook got in on the act.