The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly expect point guard Ricky Rubio to return to action in mid-January.
Rubio sustained a severe sprained ankle during a Nov. 7 game against the Orlando Magic and has not played since. Earlier in December, Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said the point guard probably wouldn't return to action before January.
According to the report, Rubio took part in three-quarter speed running exercises and shooting drills before Minnesota's game against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, but still has trouble starting and stopping and changing direction while running. Rubio will have an MRI soon and could participate in contact drills next week if it shows he is recovering on schedule.
"I am trying to do my best," Rubio said. "Sometimes it is a little bit painful. I got to get through that. Some things are mentally [challenging]. I just push myself and try to come back as soon as a I can."
Over five games before the injury, Rubio averaged 9.4 points, 10 assists and 5.6 rebounds.
In November, the Timberwolves signed Rubio to a four-year contract extension reportedly worth $55 million.
- Molly Geary