UPDATE (3/10 @1:19pmCT): According to multiple sources, Ricky Rubio has torn his ACL in his left knee. He'll be out for the remainder of the season. Typical recovery time is 6-9 months. That means the Wolves will rely heavily on Ridnour, J.J. & Lee these next 20 games. Expect Ridnour to start tonight, with Lee coming off the bench (likely to make his NBA debut with both Ricky & J.J. out). Here's the full update: Rubio has Torn ACL.
The Minnesota Timberwolves fell last night to the Los Angeles Lakers and moved to 21-20 on the year, but fell out of the playoffs as quick as they had gotten into them, now a half game behind the Rockets for the 8th seed in the West.
A matchup against the New Orleans Hornets will hopefully be enough to get them back on track. The Hornets are just 9-31 on the year and 5-15 on the road. The Timberwolves are 21-20 and 12-11 on the road.
A dark cloud hangs over the Wolves right now, though. I was waiting to write this post until we found out about Ricky's knee, but we needed to get this written. Check out our post on his injury here: Ricky Rubio Hurt, Team Fears Torn ACL.
There's plenty of speculation on Rubio's condition circling the Internet, but when we get the news from a reliable source, we'll have a full update under that story and in this preview.
I'd expect Rubio not to play no matter the result of the MRI, as he could barely make it off the floor last night. The TWolves will also be without J.J. Barea who is recovering from a sprained ankle he suffered vs. the Blazers on Wednesday. Kevin Love, who didn't play vs. the Lakes last night due to back spasms is questionable, but most assume he'll play, likely a gametime decision.
That certainly leaves plenty of holes in the TWolves' starting lineup. If Rubio can't go, expect Ridnour to man the point, Wes or Webster will play shooting guard, Wes or Beasley would start at small forward, it'll be either Love or Williams at power forward and Pekovic will start at center. I basically just named over half the team that could start vs. the Hornets tonight! Malcolm Lee who was recalled from the D-League will be available and with point guards Rubio & Barea out, Lee will likely make his NBA debut!
The Hornets have plenty of injury problems themselves, though. In the Hornets' last game vs. Denver (last night) Emeka Okafor, Jason Smith & Carl Landry were all injured and didn't play. Okafor was out with a sore left knee, Smith with a concussion and Landry with an MCL sprain. Of course, the Hornets' best player Eric Gordon is still out as well.
In their last game vs. Denver they started Jarrett Jack, Marco Belinelli, Trevor Ariza, Gustavo Ayon & Chris Kaman. In that game they lost 110-97. Lance Thomas came off the bench and had 18, Jack scored 17 & Xavier Henry & Belinelli both added 12.
The Hornets are on a 4-game losing streak and have gone 2-8 in their last 10 games, while the Timberwolves have gone 6-4 over their last 10. Minnesota has also won the last 4 meetings over the Hornets as they look to extend that streak to 5 with a win tonight.
The Hornets aren't a great team, but they're a team that you can never overlook and chalk up a W, sure, they've lost 31 games this season, but they have a lot of talented players on the team and with the potential of the TWolves being without three of their best players tonight, if you think people needed to step up last night without Love (they did), then tonight's game is certainly more the same....if not more so!
With so many questions about who'll be available and who will start and Rubio & Love's condition, you can expect an update to this post later today, before the 7pmCT tipoff tonight.
Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!