Monday, 26 December 2011

Timberwolves: Ricky Rubio's wait is over

Minnesota Timberwolves rookie point guard Ricky Rubio is not expected to start in his NBA debut tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Target Center.

But new coach Rick Adelman plans to use the 22 year-old Spanish phenom as the primary backup to nine-year veteran Luke Ridnour in the regular-season opener.

"It will be amazing after two long years to finally play here in (an) NBA game," Rubio, a 2009 first-round draft pick of the Timberwolves, said after this morning's shootaround. "I'm excited and a little nervous, but once I get in the game I will only be thinking about basketball."

Rubio, who grew up in Barcelona, played overseas the last two years with Regal FC Barcelona before taking advantage of a buyout in his contract to join the Timberwolves. Rubio said he's been nursing a sprained right ankle but is fit to play tonight.

"My ankle feels a lot better," Rubio said. "It's not sore anymore."

Rubio was injured in the second quarter of the first exhibition game, Dec. 17 against the Milwaukee Bucks. He did not play in the Timberwolves' exhibition win at Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Tonight's game also represents the NBA debut for rookie forward Derrick Williams, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft. The 6-foot-8 Williams will be used off the bench as part of a rotation with forwards Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and Anthony Tolliver.

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