Ricky Rubio has been cleared to return to the court for the Minnesota Timberwolves' game against the Dallas Mavericks Saturday after missing nine months with a torn ACL and LCL, the team announced.
Rubio made his first public comments about his return in the release. Here is what he had to say, via NBA.com:
"I'm excited to get back on the floor with my teammates and play in front of the best fans in the NBA at Target Center. After a long recovery, this is the first step in me getting back on the court and helping my teammates. Thank you to the fans for their support over the last nine months."
Rubio was injured on March 9, 2012 when he tore his ACL and LCL against the Lakers. He had surgery a few days later and has not played since.
At the time of his injury, Rubio was one of the rising stars in the NBA and one of the biggest reasons Minnesota was in the playoff chase with a 21-20 overall record. Rubio was averaging 10.6 points per game and a team-leading 8.2 assists prior to his injury, and without him, the Timberwolves stumbled down the stretch. They finished the regular season with just five wins in final last 25 games.
Now Rubio is back, and returning to a Minnesota team that is a surprising 11-9 overall, despite Rubio's injury and Kevin Love missing the team's first nine games. The Timberwolves are currently in sixth place in the Western Conference standings and have won their last three games.