Wolves keeping close eye on Rubio’s recovery

MINNEAPOLIS — The next step in Ricky Rubio’s rehabilitation process has begun.

On Sunday, the Minnesota Timberwolves point guard flew back to Spain, announcing his arrival in his home country with a tweet on Tuesday that read: “Back to Spain to see my family and friends! So excited! Spain here I go!!!” It’s a trip Rubio has been anticipating for months and a sign that his rehabilitation from March surgery to repair the torn ACL in his left knee is going well.

As early as April, just a month after his March 9 injury, Rubio discussed his desire to return to Spain this summer.

“Being back in Spain is going to be an option because (it will be good) for my mind, especially, being with my family,” Rubio said in an April.

Now, two months later, he’s able to return, albeit with a Timberwolves staffer in tow at all times. After a successful checkup with Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail last week, the team decided to permit Rubio to return to his home country. Physical therapist Andrew Tai flew with Rubio on Sunday, and the point guard will return to Colorado at the end of July for another checkup.

“We’ll have someone from this staff with him every day,” Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said. “You can’t take any chances. It’s not that we don’t trust people in other parts of the world or across the street; I just felt very strongly.”

Right now, the details about Rubio’s eventual return are as foggy as they were last time Kahn provided an update on May 31. The start of training camp is a “pretty accelerated” target for the point guard’s return, Kahn said, pointing out that it’s only been three months since his surgery. However, Rubio’s most recent checkup was upbeat, and doctors were very pleased with his progress.

The Timberwolves have been adamant since the early days of Rubio’s rehabilitation that they’re more focused on a complete recovery than setting or even speculating about a target date for his return. With a young player who has no history of significant injuries and years of basketball ahead of him, it would seem short-sighted to rush the process rather than wait a few weeks or months into the season for his return.

“The last thing I’d like to do at this early stage is come out with dates and timetables,” Kahn said. “He just needs to keep making steady progress. The most important thing is that he comes back better and stronger than ever.”

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