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Monday, March 12, 2012

Torn ACL will bench Rubio for rest of year


MINNEAPOLIS — Ricky Rubio's sensational rookie season has come to a devastatingly abrupt end.

News photo
Season cut short: Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio is injured in a collision with the Lakers' Kobe Bryant during a game on March 9, in Minnesota. Rubio will be out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee. AP

The Minnesota Timberwolves point guard will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee, the team announced on Saturday. Now the upstart Wolves will have to keep chasing a playoff berth without one of the players who was most responsible for the franchise's resurgence.

"I feel bad for Ricky having to miss the rest of this season," Wolves president David Kahn said in a statement. "But Ricky is a competitor, and I am confident that he will work hard to get back on the court next year and continue his progression as one of the top point guards in our league."

It also means that Rubio will miss the upcoming Olympics, where he was expected to be a vital part of Spain's bid for the gold medal.

"All my support to my big friend and teammate (at)rickyrubio9," tweeted Toronto Raptors guard and fellow Spainiard Jose Calderon. "Hard news about his knee. He'll be back stronger."

Rubio went down in the closing seconds of a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, when his knee buckled as he tried to help out on defense against Kobe Bryant. He immediately clutched his knee and had to be carried off the court by teammates Martell Webster and Derrick Williams.

There were plenty of long faces in the Wolves locker room after the game, and not just because they lost their 18th straight to the Lakers.

Rubio had an MRI on Saturday that revealed the torn ligament, sucking the wind out of a team that had been brimming with confidence thanks in part to his flashy passing that energized a club that lost 132 games over the previous two seasons.

"Love my teammate and friend (at)rickyrubio9," All-Star forward Kevin Love tweeted. "Here's to a quick recovery. We will miss you."

In his first season after coming from Spain, the 21-year-old was averaging 10.6 points and 8.2 assists, but his impact has been so much greater than his numbers.

The floppy-haired, irrepressible young point guard changed the dynamic of a rebuilding team almost from the moment he set foot in Minnesota. His unselfish play galvanized his teammates, and his fun-loving nature has been an immediate draw at the box office, where the Timberwolves have already sold out seven games this season, their most since 2006-07.

Heat outlast Pacers


MIAMI — Dwyane Wade's jumper with 0.1 seconds left in overtime gave Miami a 93-91 overtime victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night, extending the Heat's home-court winning streak to 12 games.

Wade scored 28 points and LeBron James led two late comebacks by Miami, finishing with 27 for the Heat. James helped force regulation by hitting a game-tying 3-pointer with 10.2 seconds left in regulation, then not allowing Indiana's Darren Collison to get a potential game-winning shot off at the other end.

Hornets 95, Timberwolves 89

In Minneapolis, Chris Kaman scored 20 points and New Orleans snapped a four-game losing streak.

Trail Blazers 110, Wizards 99

In Washington, LaMarcus Aldridge had 30 points and 10 rebounds to lead Portland.

Pistons 105, Raptors 86

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Rodney Stuckey had 20 points and eight assists and Brandon Knight scored 19 first-half points as Detroit routed Toronto.

Bulls 111, Jazz 97

In Chicago, Derrick Rose had 24 points and 13 assists, Carlos Boozer scored 27 and the Bulls won for the ninth time in 10 games.

Thunder 122, Bobcats 95

In Oklahoma City, James Harden scored 22 of his career-high 33 points in the first half, Kevin Durant had 26 points and Russell Westbrook added 23 as the Thunder bounced back from a rare home loss.

Rockets 112, Nets 106

In Newark, New Jersey, Goran Dragic had 23 points and eight assists, Luis Scola scored a go-ahead tip-in with 62 seconds remaining and Houston snapped a five-game losing streak.

Suns 98, Grizzlies 91

In Phoenix, Jared Dudley scored 19 points to lead six Suns players in double figures.

Warriors 111, Mavericks 87

In Oakland, David Lee scored 25 points, Nate Robinson added 21 and Golden State beat road-weary Dallas.

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