HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Minnesota Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman has much to be thankful for during this holiday season. By almost every measure, his team overachieved throughout the first three weeks of the season, before slip-sliding through their current five-game losing streak.
In addition, he recently got All-Star power forward Kevin Love back in the lineup from injury.
And there could be more good fortune for the Adelman and the Timberwolves in the form of a healthy and fully recovered (from ACL surgery) Ricky Rubio. Originally believed to be on his way back sometime in the middle to end of December, there are signs that he could return sooner than expected.
Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune has the details, or better yet the lack of concrete details, coming from the Timberwolves regarding Rubio:
David Kahn said he still isn’t putting a timetable on Rubio’s return, as he hasn’t done all along.
But there’s no question Rubio’s return is getting closer, maybe closer than expected, particularly if you weren’t expecting him back until Christmas or later.
He’s been working out quite vigorously on his own before games — just saw him working up a sweat shooting and doing other drills — and it’s certainly possible he could be back in a game perhaps even sometime that first week of December, or shortly thereafter.
After watching Damian Lillard and Wes Matthews torch the Wolves Friday night in Portland, they could certainly use his defense.
“When he was healthy last year, he was very good keeping the people in front of him,” Rick Adelman said. “He was able to control the guard he was guarding and not let him get around him. He was in the Top 5 in steals. He was always in the right spot defensively as a team defender, too. He’ll help us. He’s give us a little more size there. His instincts will help us a lot.”
If the Timberwolves have any chance of saving themselves from their current dip on the dark side of the standings, they’ll need to do it now.
The sooner Rubio gets back into the flow — along with Love — the better chance they’ll have to do exactly that.