Ricky Rubio, coming off an ACL surgery, has been on a minutes limit — he played 22 a game up until Monday night when he got 26.
“It’s hard because I still have a little pain and it’s something you have to fight through and get through,” said the 22-year-old Spaniard before the Minnesota Timberwolves lost 113-98 to the Dallas Mavericks, a fourth consecutive defeat for Minnesota and yet another game that Rubio would come off the bench and be limited by a minutes restriction.
“I talk with the guys who had the same injury and they say about a year, a year-and-a-half [after surgery] they started feeling, like, normal,” Rubio continued. “It’s tough when you’re playing with something in your mind; you don’t want to think about it, but it’s in your mind that you’re going slower and you are not who you used to be.
“That’s going to come, but you have to be patient.”
The fact he is fighting through pain is the reason the Timberwolves have to be cautious here. That and that the team is struggling and now will not have Kevin Love back for at least two months. The playoffs are a fading hope for the Timberwolves this season.
But it’s not about this season, it’s about the next one and the five after that. The core of this team is still a playoff team, a potentially very good one. And you have to make decisions with the long-term in mind.
And if that means a minute limit, then keep him on it. Especially if there is pain.