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Rubio wants Minnesota to stop using rash of injuries as excuse

Jan 18, 2013, 10:36 AM EDT

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Rubio is defended by L.A. Clippers' Crawford and Griffin during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Minneapolis Reuters

Injury-ravaged Minnesota looked across the court and saw the Los Angeles Clippers — a team without MVP candidate Chris Paul due to injury. But without him the Clippers this week are 3-0 with road wins against Memphis, Houston before coming to Minnesota.

The Clippers just steamrolled the Timberwolves Thursday and made Minnesota’s complaining about injuries look like an excuse. Granted, the Clippers are the deepest team in the NBA — CP3 gets hurt and Eric Bledsoe comes in and plays better than most team’s starter — and the Minnesota injury list is extensive. Still, players in Minnesota seemed to have a built-in excuse for some sloppy play.

And that’s what Ricky Rubio told the Pioneer Press after the game — no more excuses.

“The players that are healthy have to step up and do a better job,” Rubio said. “We can’t say we’re playing bad because of the injuries. I don’t think that’s the way. In a way, be a man. Everybody has to step up and know his new role. We are here to win games and have fun, but I don’t think we’re having fun, and we’re going to change it.”

So, does he have another excuse for him shooting 22 percent since coming back from knee surgery?

It’s a nice sentiment, but the problem is just the volume of front-line injuries in Minnesota: Kevin Love (hand surgery, out 8-10 weeks), Chase Budinger (knee surgery), Brandon Roy (chronic knee issues), Josh Howard (released due to knee injury) and Malcolm Lee (knee surgery). Rubio himself is still on a minutes limit following ACL surgery (and is not himself yet on the court). Then on Thursday Nikola Pekovic had a bruised thigh and Alexey Shved rolled his ankle.

Minnesota is forced to rely on the guys that shouldn’t be getting this much run. Every team deals with injuries but every season there is a team or two whose season is undone by the volume of them. This year Minnesota seems to be that team.

You want someone in the locker room to step up and say “time to just play better, guys” that has to be the players’ attitude. It’s just not enough sometimes.

  1. bucrightoff - Jan 18, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    That missed layup last night might have been the worst shot miss I’ve ever seen. I actually cringed while watching it.

    • michaeljordanseviltwin - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:41 PM

      I laughed! I knew immediately it would be on Shaqtin’ A Fool. Looks like Rubio thought he might dunk then changed his mind and just lost the ball. Ridiculous miss.

  2. zerole00 - Jan 18, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Wow, I didn’t realize how many players MN has out. That’s just depressing.

  3. lpd1964 - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    The injuries this team has seems like a legit reason for their struggles, just saying.

  4. mrwrightsdad - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Know what you are getting at Mr. Rubio but there is a difference between reasons and excuses

  5. pdavies576 - Jan 19, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    Rubio wants to fire up the team to fight every night on the court. Problem is nobody can over all those injuries. The Wolves have a decent roster when fit and should be pushing for a playoffs spot. Like any sport throughout the world injuries kill teams chances of success.

  6. ahmedovic8 - Jan 19, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Brandon Roy brought the injury bug from Portland. #Conspiracy

  7. michaeljordanseviltwin - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    No problem with Rubio’s words but, as a fan of the Timberwolves revamped roster, I see the injuries as a legitimate reason for their struggles. Kevin Love is the best player on the team by far and he’s missed most of the season, Brandon Roy has been a no show (as some expected), and nearly every other decent player has missed some time. It’s depressing. This should be a playoff team. Come on, wolves, get healthy already!

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