Ricky Rubio

Cavaliers Notes: Allen, Garland, Bench, Mitchell

A right eye injury that Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen suffered in Friday’s loss at Miami may not be as bad as the team originally feared, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Allen walked to the locker room with a towel over his eye after being swiped by Bam Adebayo during a battle for a rebound late in the fourth quarter. He’s listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game at Charlotte, but a source told Fedor that the eye “looked better than expected,” adding that Allen will “hopefully be back sooner rather than later.”

In his game story Friday night, Fedor asked coach J.B. Bickerstaff what a prolonged absence for Allen would mean to a team that’s battling to hang onto home-court advantage in the playoffs.

“Obviously, we would miss him,” Bickerstaff said. “We would miss all the things that he brings on both sides of the court. His ability to protect the paint, anchor our defense and just his spirit. Everyone would have to step up. A lot of that would put Evan (Mobley) at more of the 5 spot and he would have to take over those responsibilities. But we believe Evan is capable of doing so and we have other guys who can help as well. It’ll be opportunities for other guys to go and contribute, which is what they will want to do.”

There’s more on the Cavaliers:

  • A quad injury that forced Darius Garland to miss the game in Miami is considered minor, but it could prevent him from playing again Sunday, Fedor adds. Garland suffered the injury in the second half of Wednesday’s game and wasn’t able to take part in the team’s shootaround or his pregame workout on Friday.
  • The Cavaliers agreed to a buyout with Kevin Love because he fell out of their rotation, but Joe Vardon of The Athletic notes that several prominent bench players haven’t been as productive since Love left. Dean Wade, Caris LeVert, Ricky Rubio and Cedi Osman are all playing fewer minutes than their season averages and have struggled to contribute since the buyout occurred.
  • Playing two straight games in Miami allowed the Cavaliers to experience something close to a playoff atmosphere, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. Cleveland won on Wednesday and the teams had an off day to make adjustments before playing again Friday. “That’s what the playoffs are going to be,” said Donovan Mitchell, one of just two Cavs starters with playoff experience. “If this was a playoff series, we still won one, and that’s kind of the mindset.”

Central Notes: Bulls, Cavaliers, Mitchell, Bucks

The Bulls entered a road back-to-back on a two-game winning streak. They’re still very much in the play-in tournament hunt and coach Billy Donovan said there’s been no discussion about going into tank mode to improve their draft status, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I’ve never had a situation from ownership, front office, that said, ‘Listen, we’ve got an opportunity to potentially manipulate or get a higher draft pick. Let’s sit these guys. Let’s play the younger guys and give them an opportunity.’ That’s never taken place,” the Bulls head coach said. “So. I respect that and appreciate that, because I do think that when you line up and play there’s an integrity, and even to the fans, you’re out there trying to win.’’

We have more Central Division news:

  • Ricky Rubio and Caris LeVert are the only Cavaliers reserves who can count on a rotation spot during the postseason, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff anticipates an eight- or nine-man rotation and those last two spots could be in flux. “Eight, nine will probably be the most,” Bickerstaff said. “It could depend on our opponent and what we need in the moment. Four of the five starters I think are going to end up playing heavy minutes.”
  • Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell had 35 points as the team snapped a three-game losing streak by pounding Toronto on Sunday. Mitchell and Bickerstaff had a meeting prior to the game in which the coach implored his star shooting guard to set the tone, Fedor writes. “When a coach and you have that talk, you kind of have to go out there and get to it,” Mitchell said.
  • The impending transfer of ownership in the Bucks’ franchise won’t have a financial impact on the team this season, according to Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. However, new owner Jimmy Haslam could be on the hook for part of this season’s luxury tax bill if the transfer occurs before the end of the league’s awards season.

Central Notes: Mitchell, Rubio, Bucks, Bogdanovic

Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell returned from a three-game absence on Tuesday after dealing with a left groin strain, but unfortunately he aggravated the injury on the final play of the loss to New York, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

“I went up to try and dunk it, both my legs cramped and my groin just tightened up and locked up on me,” Mitchell explained. “Those three things happened at the same time.”

The 26-year-old – who didn’t practice on Wednesday, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link) – was unsure of his status going forward.

I felt it a little (earlier in the game) but nothing to the extent at the end,” he continued. “We’ll figure it out and see what happens. It felt the same as before. I don’t know what comes next. I am just upset that it … I felt good enough to come back, and for that to be the last five seconds of the game really pisses me off. … I’m praying that I’m all right.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • While Ricky Rubio admits that he’s still readjusting to the speed of the NBA game following his year-long rehab from an ACL tear, the Cavaliers point guard said he feels “the best I’ve felt in my career,” according to Russo at The Athletic.
  • Eric Nehm of The Athletic takes stock of how Bobby Portisknee injury will impact the Bucks, exploring whether the team has enough depth on its roster to get by without the big man for a few weeks. If Serge Ibaka remains away from the Bucks, they’ll likely have to lean more on small-ball lineups when Brook Lopez is off the floor, Nehm observes.
  • Within a look at Khris Middleton‘s return and the Bucks‘ championship aspirations, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports confirms that the team remains “very much in play” for Suns forward Jae Crowder. However, Goodwill says he gets the sense that Milwaukee’s offer is its offer and that the Bucks will be prepared to pivot if Phoenix moves Crowder elsewhere.
  • James L. Edwards III of The Athletic reacts to hypothetical Bojan Bogdanovic trade offers from a handful of his fellow writers at The Athletic, evaluating whether or not the Pistons would view them as viable. Edwards ultimately passes on all five offers he receives in the exercise, since none include a first-round pick that isn’t at least lottery-protected, and Detroit wants an unprotected pick.

Rory Maher contributed to this post.

Cavaliers Notes: Mitchell, Love, Rubio, Garland

Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell won’t be available for an inter-conference showdown in Memphis on Wednesday night, having been officially ruled out due to a left groin strain, per an Associated Press report.

Mitchell suffered the injury during the third quarter of Cleveland’s win over New Orleans on Monday and was held out of practice on Tuesday. He was originally listed as doubtful for Wednesday’s game vs. the Grizzlies before being downgraded to out.

It remains to be seen whether Mitchell will have to miss more time beyond tonight’s contest. The Cavs have a challenging back-to-back set on tap for this weekend, as they’ll host Golden State on Friday and Milwaukee on Saturday.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • Cavaliers forward Kevin Love continues to be affected by a hairline fracture in his right thumb, as Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com details. At the time Love sustained the injury, on November 18, he had made 40.9% of his three-point attempts on the season. Since then, he has knocked down just 29.5%. “Still doesn’t feel right,” Love said on Monday after making just 1-of-7 shots from the field, including 0-of-4 threes.
  • Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said prior to Monday’s game that Ricky Rubio‘s minutes restriction would be bumped up to about 15 minutes as the team continues to monitor his return from a year-long ACL-related absence, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. Rubio, who played 10 minutes in his first game back and 13 in his second appearance, ended up logging 17 minutes on Monday.
  • The Cavs like what they’ve seen this season from Darius Garland, who has adjusted nicely to sharing the backcourt with Mitchell and continues to grow as a team leader, Russo writes in a full story for The Athletic. “He’s still young — more years ahead of him than he has behind him,” Caris LeVert said of his teammate. “But I think he’s done a great job of feeling it out and not being afraid to put his voice out there, not being afraid to make mistakes even with communication. I think for us to just hear his voice is huge because, obviously, we all respect his game. So just for us to hear his voice is huge.”

Eastern Notes: Beal, Porzingis, Knicks, Caruso, Ibaka, Rubio

Bradley Beal, who has been sidelined for the Wizards‘ last four games due to a low-grade left hamstring strain, is nearing a return.

According to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link), Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said today that Beal has been upgraded to questionable for Monday’s game vs. Golden State. If the star guard doesn’t end up playing in that contest, his next chance to return would be on Wednesday in New York.

Here’s more from around the East:

  • In a Q&A with Mark Medina of NBA.com, Wizards big man Kristaps Porzingis discussed why he feels comfortable in D.C., what he’s doing this season to stay healthy, and why his stints with the Knicks and Mavericks didn’t work out as hoped.
  • The Knicks have been scouting the Bulls “closely” as of late, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, who suggests New York would be a team to watch if Chicago decides to make guard Alex Caruso available.
  • Bucks big man Serge Ibaka wasn’t with the team on its four-game road trip this past week due to personal reasons, and it doesn’t sound like that will change anytime soon. According to Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter link), head coach Mike Budenholzer said on Saturday that he doesn’t expect Ibaka to rejoin the club when it returns home. The Bucks will play in Milwaukee on Monday and Tuesday before heading back out on the road.
  • After returning to action on Thursday following a year-long recovery from an ACL tear, Ricky Rubio said he was “grateful” to be playing basketball again, per ESPN’s Kevin Pelton. While he acknowledged there were “a lot of emotions” in his first game back, the veteran point guard added that he’s already thinking about what the rest of the season will look like for him and the Cavaliers. “I didn’t work just to come back today,” Rubio said. “I worked hard to come back stronger than ever. It’s not just about today. I’m looking forward to having a strong season, not just a comeback season.”

Ricky Rubio Targeting Thursday For Season Debut

Ricky Rubio is targeting Thursday in Portland for his 2022/23 season debut, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports that the Cavaliers guard will practice on Wednesday and then suit up tomorrow if there are no setbacks.

Rubio began last season in Cleveland and played a major role in the Cavaliers’ early-season success, but tore his left ACL on December 28 and has been recovering from and rehabbing the injury for over a year since then.

Following his injury, Rubio was traded to Indiana as a salary-matching piece for Caris LeVert and finished last season as a Pacer. However, the veteran point guard returned to Cleveland in free agency — the Cavs signed him to a three-year, $18.44MM contract that is nearly fully guaranteed, reflecting their confidence that he’d make it back from his ACL tear and resume being a productive rotation player.

In the first half of 2021/22, Rubio matched a career-high by averaging 13.1 points per game to go along with 6.6 APG and 4.1 RPG in 34 appearances (28.5 MPG).

Even after he returns to action, it will likely take some time for the 32-year-old to resemble his old self, but simply having him available again will improve the depth in the Cavs’ backcourt. Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland lead the team in minutes per game and Garland in particular has been banged up for much of the year, dealing with a series of injuries that have cost him nine total games.

Cavaliers Notes: Rubio, Mobley, Mitchell, Irving

Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio, who was cleared earlier this month to participate in 5-on-5 work, is getting close to making his season debut following his recovery from a torn left ACL. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff indicated today that Rubio’s return could come at some point early in the new year, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link).

“I would expect him, if things go the right way, sometime early next month,” Bickerstaff said. “So we’re definitely progressing in the right direction.”

Rubio began last season in Cleveland and played a key role in the Cavaliers’ early-season success, but sustained an ACL tear on December 28, almost exactly one year ago. He was subsequently traded to Indiana as a salary-matching piece when the team acquired Caris LeVert.

The Cavs were 20-13 entering the game in which Rubio got injured, but lost that contest and then played .500 ball the rest of the way, falling out of the playoffs in the East after losing a pair of play-in games. They’re off to a 22-13 start this season as the veteran point guard works through the final stages of his rehab process.

Here are a few more Cavs-related notes:

  • As Russo writes for The Athletic, Nets star Kevin Durant said he believes Cavs big man Evan Mobley has a “bright future” in Cleveland after working out with the former No. 3 overall pick in the Los Angeles area over the summer. “A lot of guys coming into the league who can do pretty much all things on a court, and he’s one of those guys that can dribble, that can guard, block shots, shoot threes, finish over the rim,” Durant said. “So, he showcased that this summer. Seeing his work ethic up close is something I wanted to see as a fan of the game because you can see the potential if you see a guy work.”
  • Durant also praised Donovan Mitchell for the role he has played in the team’s strong start this season, per Robert Fenbers of Cleveland.com. “Donovan Mitchell is the key to this change for this team, and it’s the reason why you look at them as contenders at this point,” Durant said. “He is such a dynamic, dynamic player since the moment he has stepped into this league.”
  • Kyrie Irving is typically greeted with boos in Cleveland because of how his tenure with the team ended, but in spite of Irving’s trade request, Kevin Love believes his former teammate deserves to have his number retired by the Cavs, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “Without a doubt. Absolutely. Right away, after his career ends,” Love said. “It’s not even a question to me. He needs to be up there. He made the biggest shot in franchise history and one of the most important shots in Finals history when you consider how it all went down — what it meant for the city, what it meant for his legacy, LeBron (James)‘s legacy and everything else, including that Golden State team that became a dynasty and was historically great.”

Cavs’ Rubio, Bucks’ Ingles Making Progress In ACL Recoveries

Guard Ricky Rubio has been cleared to participate in 5-on-5 work, but the Cavaliers won’t rush his recovery from a torn left ACL, reports Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscriber link).

He’s back,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said following Thursday’s practice. “He’s going to start doing more and more. More 5-on-5 and those types of things. He’s been given the green light to do that. Now it’s the progression that he has to go through to get ready to play in an NBA game. It’s something we won’t rush. But he’s heading in the right direction.”

Rubio suffered the injury last December, in the same knee that he’d previously torn an ACL several years ago. The Cavs wound up trading his expiring salary to Indiana in the Caris LeVert deal in February, but he signed a three-year contract with Cleveland as a free agent this past summer.

Bucks fans also received some good news on Thursday, as free agent addition Joe Ingles was assigned to the Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s G League affiliate, to get some practice reps in (Twitter link via Eric Nehm of The Athletic). Ingles sustained his own torn left ACL in January and had reconstructive surgery in February.

The last update on Ingles’ status came before the season started, when GM Jon Horst said the forward could return in December or January.

The Cavs are currently 16-9, the No. 3 seed in the East, while the Bucks are 18-6, the No. 2 seed, so neither club should feel any sense of urgency to get their respective veterans back. Still, the former Jazz teammates will provide a nice boost of leadership and play-making when they do return to action.

Cavaliers Notes: Rubio, Mobley, Allen

Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio has yet to make his season debut after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee last season, though he’s making good progress. Rubio said on the El Reverso podcast that he anticipates playing just two or three more NBA seasons, Eurohoops.net relays.

“To be honest, I don’t have much left in the NBA,” he said. “When my son starts school, I want to settle in my house in Badalona (Spain). In two, three years, I would say I have left. I think I’ve found my place in Cleveland, I’m comfortable, and I want to reach the top with this project. I dream of living the experience of playing in the Finals.”

If that’s the case, Rubio may not need to sign another NBA contract. Rubio re-signed with the Cavs on a three-year, $18MM+ contract over the summer, though the final year is only partially guaranteed.

We have more from the Cavaliers:

  • Cleveland wants second-year power forward Evan Mobley to follow the template the Bucks laid out for Giannis Antetokounmpo during his development into the league’s Most Valuable Player, as James Collier of ESPN details. However, Mobley is more advanced than the Milwaukee superstar was at this stage of his career. “People my size cannot move the way I move. I just try to perfect it as much as I can because I understand it’s a difference-maker,” Mobley said. “I understand the way I move, the physicality I bring to the game, it’s big.”
  • Center Jarrett Allen is back in the lineup Tuesday against the Lakers after a five-game absence, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Allen was sidelined by a lower back contusion. He was upgraded to questionable Monday night and participated in Cleveland’s shootaround Tuesday.
  • In case you missed it, Dean Wade has a three-to-four week timetable to return from his shoulder injury. Get the details here.

Central Notes: Middleton, Mitchell, Rubio, Livers

Khris Middleton returned to the court Friday for the first time since the playoffs, and the Bucks responded with a season-high 129 points, writes Jamal Collier of ESPN. Middleton hadn’t played since suffering an MCL sprain to his left knee in the first-round series against Chicago. He also had wrist surgery in July.

“It felt really good to be back out there with the guys competing, playing,” Middleton said. “Just a range of emotions. Been through a lot these last couple months — happy, sad, anxious, nervous. To finally get out there and play and get a lot of those nerves past me, it felt pretty good.”

Milwaukee has the league’s second-best record, but ranked 17th in offensive efficiency without one of its most reliable perimeter scorers. Middleton reminded Bucks fans what they’ve been missing with 17 points and seven assists in 27 minutes Friday night.

“He makes the game look so easy,” Jrue Holiday said. “The way he plays, it’s kind of like nobody is out there, just him. It’s like a drill. It’s definitely good to see him back out there, wish we could’ve got the win for him. But he makes the game look effortless.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Donovan Mitchell feels like his career has been revived after an offseason trade to the Cavaliers, per Brian Dulik of The Associated Press. Mitchell is averaging 28.7 PPG through 21 games while shooting career highs of 49.4% from the field and 43.5% from three-point range. “This is no shot at my guys in Utah, but I’m having fun again and that goes a long way,” he said. “This group has a bunch of guys who want to learn and who want to be great. Sometimes a new beginning is all you need. I’ve fit in here because I’ve filled a void.”
  • Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio was able to play 3-on-3 this week as he recovers from ACL surgery, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. “He’s got a doctor’s appointment coming up soon, where we’re looking to see where he’s at,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.
  • Pistons forward Isaiah Livers will miss some time with a shoulder sprain he suffered in Thursday’s game, according to James L. Edwards of The Athletic (Twitter link). Coach Dwane Casey didn’t provide a projected timetable for Livers, who has started the team’s last seven games.