Ricky Rubio is reportedly set to make his return to the court a year after his tore his ACL.
As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Rubio is set to make his season debut on Thursday when the Cavs play the Portland Trail Blazers. Tipoff for that game in Portland is at 10 p.m.
Rubio has not played since Dec. 28 of last year when he tore his ACL in a game against the New Orleans Pelicans. He was later traded to the Indiana Pacers in the trade that netted Cleveland Caris LeVert. Rubio then returned to the Cavs over the summer on a multi-year deal.
This week, Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said that Rubio was “close” to a return. He has been working out before game for weeks now — a sign that he was getting closer — in addition to traveling with the team on road trips. That included a pregame workout last night in Utah.
#Cavs guard Ricky Rubio is said to be “really close” to a return. Here he is getting some conditioning work in before tonight’s game. pic.twitter.com/PAlpJBj37z— Danny Cunningham (@RealDCunningham) January 11, 2023
What Rubio’s workload and spot in the rotation look like is unclear. He had lot of success last year playing with Darius Garland and, before that, played with Donovan Mitchell in Utah. But how many minutes he’ll play, who he takes minutes from and what he looks like when as returns are all big questions for Rubio and the Cavs to find answers to. They need his playmaking, but it’s likely to be a slow burn.
Prior to his injury last year, the 32-year-old Rubio averaged 13.1 points and 6.6 assists per game.