When Ricky Rubio crashed to the floor in agony after turning his left ankle during his team’s loss to the Orlando Magic last night, it was easy to assume the worst. The Minnesota Timberwolves maestro couldn’t walk off the floor on his own power, and replays showed a significant twist that made broken bones seem a legitimate possibility. Fortunately for Rubio and his team, though, tests confirmed merely a “significant” sprain that will leave him sidelined indefinitely.
A MRI taken in Miami on Ricky Rubio’s injured ankle confirmed a “significant” sprain and he is out indefinitely.
It’ll likely be at least two weeks until the team has a better idea the damage caused when he badly rolled his ankle just before halftime of Friday’s 112-103 overtime loss at Orlando.
The injury was not diagnosed as a “high ankle” sprain, which is good news because that’s a slow-healing injury that can take six to eight weeks or more to heal.
The MRI also confirmed there is no fracture.
It’s not ideal news for the ‘Wolves, obviously.
Rubio was playing perhaps the best basketball of his career before succumbing to injury, and Minny had surprised by going 2-2 and nearly beating league powers the Memphis Grizzlies and Chicago Bulls. Even before Flip Saunders‘ team struggled without Rubio last night, the Spanish star’s influence loomed very, very large:
The ‘Wolves really need Rubio, basically, and will surely labor without him. But an approximate four-week absence isn’t much compared to how long it would take him to recover from a broken ankle, a pessimistic outcome that still appeared reasonable considering video and photos taken during and immediately after the incident:
Rubio's ankle pic.twitter.com/jynqfrNJTi
— Dane Carbaugh (@danecarbaugh) November 8, 2014
Does this push the ‘Wolves further away from playoff contention? Certainly, but it was extremely unlikely their early success would prove sustainable over the long-haul anyway. And while it would behoove youngsters Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett to play with Rubio to ease their acclimation to Minnesota’s system and professional basketball in general, shouldering a bigger load isn’t exactly a bad thing – especially for the number one pick.
If this allows Wiggins more room to explore his exceedingly raw yet still tantalizing prospects as a ballhandler, perhaps Rubio’s absence could actually be beneficial for Minny long-term. The same goes for fellow first-round pick Zach LaVine; he’ll be thrust into a backup role while Rubio recovers.
The Timberwolves were never going anywhere in 2014-2015, and Rubio’s setback should make that reality easier for Saunders and his veterans to stomach. Assuming Rubio resumes his stellar play with relative haste upon returning from injury and continues improving from there, this unfortunate turn of events will be but a blip on the big picture radar – no matter how many losses Minny accrues while he sits.
*Statistical support for this post provided by nba.com/stats.
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