Timberwolves coach gives Rubio health update: “He’s getting there”

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Ankle injuries limited Ricky Rubio to just 22 games last season, and he had surgery on his left ankle in April that forced him to sit out this summer’s EuroBasket tournament. As the Timberwolves get ready to kick off training camp, interim head Sam Mitchell says the Spanish point guard isn’t where he needs to be yet, but he could be soon.

Mitchell (who is filling in for head coach Flip Saunders while he undergoes treatment for lymphoma), also says center Nikola Pekovic, who has been limited by Achilles problems the last couple of years, won’t be healthy for camp. That part is expected, and Minnesota has plenty of depth up front. The health of Rubio is much more crucial — he’s entering the first year of a four-year, $55 million extension and despite his shooting deficiencies, his defense and playmaking ability make him an important part of the Timberwolves’ future. They’re still a couple years away from contending, but a healthy Rubio will accelerate that process.