As John noted in the game recap, before yesterday's game, Flip Saunders gave an update about Rubio's most recent injury:
He's got worse than a high ankle sprain where he actually tore some of the muscles and ligaments in his foot and that's giving him some problems in his toes.
We've had him see two different specialists in the last three weeks...he's got pain on the side of his ankle. He's got a sort of bone bruise there. The concern is they didn't want him to be a full go yet because that could turn into a stress fracture"
A couple weeks ago he came to me and wanted to go 24/7 on his workouts. He wanted one person to stay with him. As I told him, he's his own worst enemy. There are people that question is he wants to get back and anyone that's been around the team knows that no one works harder than him. Him not playing right now - I want to clear the air - has nothing to do with him not wanting to play or not working to try and play.
If those comments come across as sharp, that's because they are. Flip made them in direct response to Jim Souhan, who recently questioned if Rubio cared about playing or living up to his draft pick or contract extension.
For what it's worth, if Souhan ever actually attended a game and watched Rubio for a mere 5 minutes on the sideline (I have never seen him at any game I've been at) he would know the idea Ricky doesn't care is total nonsense. He wrote a provocative bit out of ignorance from a position of power. He works for an accredited paper. He can go to the games. Hell, we're a volunteer blog and we go to games. You've all seen/read my sarcastic 'complaints' about how Ricky's constant standing/cheering/ref-gaming blocks my view of the court.
Hey. Guess what Ricky Rubio is standing Which means I once again cannot see anything— canishoopus (@canishoopus) December 22, 2014
There are certainly aspects of Rubio's game that are still in question, but his desire to be playing the game is most definitely not one of them. The guy lives for basketball. His behind-the-bench injury time has been an exercise in 'one of us'. Ricky's mix of enthusiasm and frustration borders on Kevin Garnett territory, where KG wouldn't even come out of the locker room when he was injured because he couldn't deal with not playing.
(yes, that is myself and Hoopus alums Tim Faklis and Britt Robson you see behind Ricky)
I will say this though: Souhan was right that this has been an inordinately long recovery time for an ankle sprain, and he got answers that no one else was getting by writing what he did. Whether that was his intent, I don't know.
So there's your update: Ricky's injury is more than a sprain, and...obviously since the team originally expected him back by now...his timetable for return has been changed from mid-January to unknown.
Which serves to bring back up the question we've been asking over and over: why does the team refuse to find another point guard?
If Flip knew that Rubio was going to be out a while longer, AND still isn't going to play Rad, AND isn't going to put LaVine back in for big minutes, then what's the deal? His update on Ricky's status makes this situation more confusing than ever. It's one thing if Rubio was day-to-day and could start playing at any time; it's something else to know he's not playing soon and still not address the problem of his absence. It means Flip either doesn't see the problem, or is ignoring it. Not good either way.
My guess is still that the team intends to keep Raduljica long term. To at least the end of the season, if not longer. So in Flip's mind, there's no rush to play him because he has plenty of time to play him later when he's learned the system. I suppose it is safe to say Pekovic's health will always be a question from this point forward, but even so....
Pekovic is now playing. Rad is still not playing. Rubio is still not playing. Gal Mekel is still a free agent.