While it hasn't been confirmed by anyone inside the Timberwolves organization, those who speculate for a living believe Ricky Rubio will return to the Timberwolves lineup this week.
From my chair, it might as well be tomorrow night against the Nuggets. If all that is standing between the Spaniard and the court is his conditioning, he should be in better shape following five days of work on the court since the Wolves last played.
The team has done exactly what they needed to without Love and Rubio. Tread water until the two players returned, and then make their run. I suggested earlier that 12-8 in their first 20 games was preferred. They are currently 9-9 with two home games standing in the way of 11-9. Not bad for a team as injury ravaged early as this one was.
From an early read playoff wise, the Wolves are in the thick of things currently sitting in the eighth position if the playoffs began today. Lost in the Ricky return chatter has been the play of Alexey Shved. The Russian rookie has been a huge spark off the bench averaging 10.6 points per game. His game should improve with Rubio back in the fold and I am all out advocating for Shved to start at the two-guard spot. Shved is one of the better three-point shooters on the team, hitting at a 33 percent clip while attempting a team high 83 shots from deep.
Wednesday was the targeted date for Rubio's return from knee surgery but a brutal upcoming schedule may tame that. The team plays five games in seven days beginning tomorrow night against Denver. Head coach Rick Adelman told reporters he has no idea when Rubio will be back.
Hey, Got a Minute:
Head coach Rick Adelman talked at length during his media session about how the minutes will be split up once Rubio returns.
"That's something I've got to figure out. There's not enough minutes for all of them. It just depends on when he comes back how much minutes he plays, but it's going to affect everybody."
Adelman also stated that he doesn't know how that would play out as multiple factors would be in play such as upcoming schedule and how many minutes Rubio plays right away.
Denver Part Deux:
It was a good first half followed by not so good second half. The Wolves built a 14 point lead in the first half on the return of Kevin Love only to watch the Nuggets outscore them 57-36 in the second half.
"Last time we played them they really took it to us in the second half so it's going to be a good test for us." Rick Adelman on the first meeting.