Minnesota Timberwolves head coach and president Flip Saunders announced Saturday that point guard Ricky Rubio won’t play again this regular season due to a nagging left ankle injury, according to Phil Ervin of Fox Sports North.
Rubio badly sprained his left ankle in early November, causing him to miss 42 games. He returned in February and played all but one game in the month, but the ankle issues came back in March. He had missed the last nine games and 11 out of 12 before finally getting shut down:
“There’s no use in him playing,” Saunders said of the fourth-year Spaniard, who also missed parts of his first two NBA seasons because of an ACL tear his rookie year. “We thought with what we were doing that he’d get relief, and he’s not getting relief. So we want to make sure that there’s nothing else that’s happening in there.”
In the 22 games he played this season, Rubio averaged 10.3 points, 8.8 assists and 5.7 rebounds. While his shooting percentages were awful (35.6 percent overall and 25.5 percent from three), the Timberwolves were truly a far better team with him on the court. In his 692 minutes this season, Minnesota was outscored by just 1.6 points per 100 possessions with the point guard on the floor, per NBA.com. With him off the court (2,981 minutes), the Wolves have been outscored by 11.2 points per 100 possessions.
Injuries have ravaged not only Rubio this season, but much of the Minnesota roster. That’s how the Wolves have a 16-60 record, the second-worst mark in the NBA. If there’s a silver lining to be taken from this season, it’s that Andrew Wiggins has had plenty of opportunities to develop (Wiggins will likely win Rookie of the Year) and a high draft pick is staring Minnesota in the face in June.