Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said point guard Ricky Rubio, struggling with back spasms, will not travel with the team Tuesday, Jan. 1, for the two-game trip to Utah and Denver. The Wolves (14-13) play at Utah on Wednesday night and Denver on Thursday night.
Rubio was limited to light shooting in Tuesday's practice.
"He can get treatment the next three days and maybe be ready for Portland (Saturday night at Target Center)," Adelman said of Rubio after Tuesday's practice. "This is something we don't need to push. We don't want something else to go haywire."
Rubio did not practice Monday and sat out Saturday's game against Phoenix. Rubio has had stiffness in his back since Friday's practice. The back issues are slowing his comeback attempt from a major knee injury last season. Rubio missed the first 20 regular season games while rehabbing his left knee. The second-year guard from Spain underwent reconstructive surgery March 21 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a torn lateral collateral ligament after he was injured in a March 9 game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rubio had complained of a sore groin during workouts to improve his knee.
"Now my back hurts," Rubio said. "I have to keep working on it. On Friday, I could hardly move at all."
Adelman said Rubio was feeling better Tuesday but not well enough to travel and possibly experience more stiffness in his back from sitting on the team's charter plane.
"The medical people feel it
makes more sense for him to stay here," Adelman said.
Rubio has appeared in five games and is averaging 4.2 points and 4.0 assists. He was expected to have his minutes increased again before his back flared up. Rubio was limited to 18 minutes in his first four games but played 22 minutes against Houston on Dec. 26.
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