Could PG Ricky Rubio be about to return to Minnesota's starting lineup?
By JOAN NIESENFS North
MINNEAPOLIS – Maybe
Ricky Rubio just really likes wearing white.
At least, that was what assistant coach Terry Porter would have liked you to believe this morning at the Timberwolves' shootaround, when the point guard was wearing a white starter's jersey for the first time all season. Porter was vague when discussing whether Rubio would start Thursday night against the Clippers – "He's wearing white," he said. "What does that mean?" – but he did acknowledge that the team has engaged in discussions about shuffling the starting lineup.
In the end, Porter did not say either way whether Rubio, who's come off the bench in his first 10 games back since ACL repair, would start. Head coach Rick Adelman will be responsible for making that final designation, Porter said, even though he remains away from the team.
"We still have some more discussions," Porter said. "If I had everyone here in white would you come ask me these questions, or just because Ricky's in white?"
"He just happened to put it on white."
I wouldn't be surprised to see the point guard take the court for tipo-ff against the Clippers on Thursday, but I also wouldn't be floored if he remained on the bench. Regardless, this is the first time that there's even been an inkling that Rubio would be among the starting five this season, and that in itself is a step. Porter also confirmed that Rubio's minutes restriction has been eased; now, he's allowed 26-28, up from his 24-minute cap in Dallas, which Porter accidentally went over.
"Twenty-four was the max," he said. "I think I exceeded that. I got a demerit."
Porter also refused to comment about the rest of the starting lineup. There's been some speculation recently that Derrick Williams might get a shot to start over Dante Cunningham at forward, and Porter also dodged that question.
"When the ball goes up, you'll be able to tell by then who's going to start," he said.
No CP3, most likely: The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday morning that Chris Paul will likely miss Thursday night's game in Minnesota. He was in the training room during shootaround having his bruised knee worked on, and if he sits, it'll be his third consecutive game out.
Caron Butler, who's been dealing with a sore foot he suffered Tuesday, will play, according to the same report.