Report: Timberwolves expect Ricky Rubio to return in mid-January

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Ricky Rubio has appeared in just five games for the Timberwolves this season, and none since going down with an ankle injury back on Nov. 7.

Flip Saunders said a few weeks ago that he expected Rubio to return in January, and a recent report from Marc Spears at Yahoo Sports reasserted mid-January as when the organization expects him back.

But Rubio himself, after suffering multiple setbacks along the road to recovery, is done putting timelines for a return to the court in place.

From Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune:

“I wish,” Rubio said Saturday when asked if he knows when he will play again. “I’ve been saying it’s two weeks for the last month. I don’t want to say anymore dates. I’ve been saying in two weeks I think I’ll be ready and two weeks go by and I still can’t play and I get mad. I don’t want to get in a bad mood again. I’m not going to ask for a date again. I go as my body will let me do.” …

“I can’t cut and if I’m running and I have to stop right away, I have to take two, three extra steps,” Rubio said before the Wolves’ 110-97 loss to Golden State. “It’s not going to work in the game. I need more of that [5-on-0 work]. It felt good. I want to feel great before I go to some contact.” …

“I came back from a tougher one with an ACL,” Rubio said. “I have experience. I know how hard it is. I’m going to take it easier this time. I think I pushed too much the last time.”

Plenty of players would feel pressured to rush their way back to help their teammates as quickly as possible, even if they weren’t yet comfortable or close to being at 100 percent.

But this is a lost season for the Timberwolves, with little to be gained by Rubio returning before he’s fully ready to do so. His consistent health moving forward is what matters most to the franchise, so he should take as long as necessary before trying to make it back.