Rubio to make season debut against Mavericks

Rubio to make season debut against Mavericks

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The floppy hair is back. The behind-the-back pass is back. Ricky Rubio is back.

Rubio was cleared to play in his first game in more than nine months and was expected to see the floor when the Minnesota Timberwolves hosted the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.

Rubio has not played in a game since tearing up his left knee last March. He averaged 10.6 points and 8.2 assists as a rookie last season, energizing a previously downtrodden franchise and helping it return to the thick of the playoff race before he went down.

``I'm excited to get back on the floor with my teammates and play in front of the best fans in the NBA at Target Center,'' Rubio said in a statement issued by the team. ``After a long recovery, this is the first step in me getting back on the court and helping my teammates. Thank you to the fans for their support over the last nine months.''

Rubio had surgery on March 21 and then started the first major rehabilitation process of his career. He has said the most difficult part has been remaining patient throughout the program, never more so than the last two weeks after he was cleared for full-contact practice. Rubio returned to work out with his teammates on Dec. 2 and watched the Wolves play five more games without him while he worked his way back into shape.

Coach Rick Adelman said he would try to keep Rubio's minutes around 16 to 18, which is why he was bringing him off the bench rather than starting him. Adelman said it is more difficult to keep Rubio's minutes in check if he's starting. The team also likely will not play him in back-to-backs right away.

``He's a really mature young man and he understands everything he's got to go through here,'' Adelman said before the game. ``We've talked about that. But he's only going to play one way, and that benefits us.''

The Wolves went 11-9 without Rubio this season, impressive considering they've also dealt with injuries to All-Star Kevin Love, Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger, JJ Barea and Nikola Pekovic, among others.

Love was considered a game-time decision after bruising his right thumb late in the victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night, but was a late scratch because of an illness. Josh Howard also injured a knee in the game and shooting guard Malcolm Lee is out indefinitely with an ailing knee as well.

But Minnesota has been waiting for its floor leader to come back and make things easier on everyone. Rubio's passing, perimeter defense and infectious personality helped make the Wolves one of the surprise teams in the West last year before his injury. After some time to get his rhythm back, they are expecting their point guard to give them just as big of a boost this season.

Rubio did not make the trip to New Orleans in hopes of getting himself ready to play the Mavericks, then was cleared by the team's medical and training staff on Saturday morning.

After the Mavericks game, the Wolves head to Florida for a back-to-back with Orlando and Miami on Monday and Tuesday and also have games at home against the Thunder and at the Knicks in a challenging week ahead.


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Game 73 Capitals vs. Stars Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 73 Capitals vs. Stars Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Dallas Stars

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Stars will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Stars game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.


The Capitals (41-24-7) take on the Stars (38-27-8) Tuesday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena.


The Capitals-Stars game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Stars
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Islanders game:

Alex Ovechkin -  Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Travis Boyd - Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Michal Kempny - Jakub Jerabek

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Evgeny Kuznetsov (upper body injury), Alex Chiasson, Brooks Orpik (lower body injury)


The Capitals-Flyers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' defensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

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Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' defensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 20, 37 days before the NFL draft.  

Looking at the 2018 depth chart—defense

The Redskins are likely to make a few more free agent acquisitions and there is the draft, but the depth chart is beginning to settle in. Let’s take a look at where the defensive side of the ball stands now. The offense was covered yesterday.

Defensive line: Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee
Backups: Terrell McClain, Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood

I wrote this on Monday afternoon wondering if I would have to edit it to add Jonathan Hankins but that has not happened yet. I have to think that they will use a top draft pick on a D-lineman if they don’t land one in free agency. That could create some competition between Hood and McClain for the last roster spot.

Linebackers: OLBs Preston Smith, Ryan Kerrigan; ILBs Mason Foster, Zach Brown
Backups: Ryan Anderson, Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Martrell Spaight

Again, I thought I might have to edit this because of the return of Junior Galette or the addition of Pernell McPhee but as it is, the Redskins are looking for an additional reserve edge rusher to go with Anderson. There might only be room for two backup inside linebackers between Vigil, Harvey-Clemons, and Spaight.

Defensive backs: CBs Quinton Dunbar, Josh Norman; FS Montae Nicholson, SS D.J. Swearinger
Backups: Orlando Scandrick, Fabian Moreau, Josh Holsey, Deshazor Everett

I debated including Su’a Cravens here because he is on the roster, but I think that the odds that he will be on the 53-man roster in September are slim. If he doesn’t return they will need some help at safety. You can count on Scandrick playing in the slot. They seem to like both Dunbar and Moreau better on the outside and Scandrick can give Holsey a chance to develop inside.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 28
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 130
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 174

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