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Ricky Rubio Out Indefinitely with Sprained Elbow

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The Wolves will be missing their point guard for the next little while. Rookie Kris Dunn will get his chance.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Ricky Rubio hurt his elbow in Saturday’s loss to the Sacramento Kings, and the team reported yesterday that he has been diagnosed with a sprain. They gave no timetable for his return:

Minneapolis/St. Paul – The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that Rick Rubio underwent an evaluation this evening by team orthopedic surgeon Diane Dahm of Mayo Clinic which confirmed the initial diagnosis of a sprained right elbow. Rubio will be listed as out indefinitely and his status will be updated as appropriate.

Beyond telling us that he won’t play tonight in the home opener against the Grizzlies, this doesn’t give much information. Darren Wolfson suggested 2-3 weeks on twitter, but later backed off that some, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Rubio was well enough to tweet out his congratulations to Gorgui Dieng last night:

So we are almost certain to see Kris Dunn in the starting lineup tonight, and for the next few weeks. This is a huge opportunity for him to play with the rest of the starting group, play a lot of minutes, and hopefully improve.

It will be interesting to see how that plays out, and how he integrates his game with the high usage players he’ll be on the floor with. Certainly this injury is not ideal; Rubio is important to what they do, and I don’t think anyone believes Dunn is really ready. Necessity calls, however, and Dunn will have the chance to answer.

We’ll also see how the backup point guard situation shakes out. Neither Tyus Jones nor John Lucas III have played yet this season, and Lucas has been inactive the first two games. He’ll of course be active now, with Rubio (and Pek) on the inactive list. Will one of them emerge as the primary back up in Rubio’s absence? There was a lot of speculation prior to the opener that Jones was on his way out the door—will he be “showcased” during this time? Will Thibs experiment with no point guard lineups? Will he turn to Lucas as a security blanket?

We’ll start finding out tonight in the home opener against the Grizzlies. After two tough losses on the road, the Wolves really need to get on the board with a win. Rubio’s injury doesn’t make that easier, but the NBA season doesn’t stop. They lost in Memphis in the season opener, blowing a big early lead and a small late one, and need to turn things around.

We’ll be back with a game thread later.