Wolves Sunday: Rubio working on conditioning

MINNEAPOLIS — After taking Saturday off, the Timberwolves returned to practice on Sunday, with Rick Adelman absent and Brandon Roy present for the first time since Nov. 18.

Adelman attended the dedication of a basketball court at Chemeketa Community College in Oregon. Adelman was the head coach at Chemeketa from 1977 to 1983, and the dedication, combined with Sunday’s snowstorm, explained his absence. Terry Porter served as acting head coach in his place.

Although Roy was lifting weights and working out on an elliptical machine once practice wrapped up, he did not actually participate. Everyone else, though, participated fully, Porter said, including Andrei Kirilenko, who returned Friday after missing four games with back spasms.

Kirilenko said that he doesn’t feel like his conditioning suffered during the time off; it’s just a matter of getting his lungs back in shape. Conditioning is also a concern for Ricky Rubio, who Porter said has looked good throughout this first week of practice.

“He seems to be playing with good confidence and moving at a good pace, so that’s good,” Porter said.

“He can do whatever he wants.”

That said, Porter offered the most candid assessment of Rubio’s return date since he was cleared to practice: “We’ve got a long way before that happens. I think he’s, there’s a lot more, I think (there are more) practices he’s got to get under his belt, some more evaluations, I think, before he gets clearance.”

Porter stressed, of course, that it’s a medical decision, not in the hands of the coaching staff. It isn’t that Rubio isn’t doing what he needs to be doing (and more); rather, Porter and the rest of the team are simply being cautious when it comes to the return, letting him get his game legs and get comfortable with everything that’s going on in that left knee.

Even so, Porter’s comments didn’t offer too much more insight into Rubio’s debut, only that if the team were playing Sunday, he’d be in his street clothes. He needs additional practices, yes, and there will be two more before the team plays again against Denver on Wednesday, perhaps another on Thursday before a back-to-back in New Orleans and at home against Dallas.

So really, there’s no more clarity to Rickywatch than there was Friday. But as of Sunday, the point guard is not quite in game shape.

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