Capitals

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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Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter:http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski

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Possible playoff opponents for the Capitals are starting to come into focus

Possible playoff opponents for the Capitals are starting to come into focus

With their 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, the Capitals' playoff future is starting to come into focus. Washington has only one game remaining and can finish in either third or fourth in the round robin standings. That limits the number of possible playoff opponents for the Caps when the games really start to matter.

First, before talking about who the Caps may play, it is important to remember why. Under the NHL's regular format, a normal year would see teams advance in a bracket, meaning each team knows going in they will be playing the winner of a specific matchup if they advance. This year, the NHL is going back to its old format of re-seeding after each round. This makes determining matchups a bit harder to figure out.

Here's what we know. The Caps are going to finish in the bottom half of the round robin meaning they will play one of the highest two seeded teams coming out of the qualifying round. The Carolina Hurricanes swept their qualifying round series against the New York Rangers. As the No. 6 seed coming in, Carolina is going to be one of the top two qualifying round teams.

RELATED: DEFENSIVE BREAKDOWNS AND MORE FROM CAPS LOSS TO FLYERS

Washington's final seed will be determined by Sunday's game against the Boston Bruins. A win in regulation, overtime or a shootout will mean the Caps are No. 3, while a loss in any fashion will bump them down to No. 4.

The simplest scenario for Washington is that If the Pittsburgh Penguins rally to win their series against the Montreal Canadiens, the Caps are guaranteed to play either Pittsburgh or Carolina as the No. 5 and 6 seeds, respectively. It gets a little trickier if the Penguins lose. If that happens, the Hurricanes become the top qualifying team and will play No. 4. The top team behind them then becomes No. 6 which, as of now, could be the New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs or the Columbus Blue Jackets.

So a rematch with the Hurricanes is a definite possibility for the Caps, as is a matchup with the rival Penguins.

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Report: Derrius Guice's attorney denies client's domestic abuse allegations

Report: Derrius Guice's attorney denies client's domestic abuse allegations

Derrius Guice's representation has released a statement that says the Washington Football Team running back "adamantly denies" the charges that he was arrested for on Friday

Guice turned himself into the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office facing one count of strangulation, three counts of assault and battery, and one count destruction of property.

The following statement from Peter Greenspun was obtained by Ben Standig of The Athletic. 

"Mr. Guice will not be commenting on these charges, which he adamantly denies. We ask that the media respect Mr. Guice's privacy," the statement read. 

"Unfortunately, the investigators did not seek a statement or any input for Derrius before the warrants were issued. The failure to fully investigate allegations of events, which allegedly took place months ago is inexplicable."

Greenspun, who has a historic career and most notably was a defense attorney in the 'D.C. Sniper trial,' called the charges of his client "unsubstantiated." He also called out the football franchise for releasing Guice prematurely without inquiring about the investigation. 

"... a full vetting of the allegations will take place, in contrast to actions by local law enforcement and the Washington Football Team that assumed the worst, directly contradicting every sense of fairness and due process," the statement concluded.

The Washington Football Team released Guice less than an hour after his arrest became public. The move came through as a part of the culture Ron Rivera has vowed to instill during his first few months as head coach. This is also not the first time Guice has faced issues for off-the-field behavior. He fell to the team back in the 2018 draft due to issues he had while with LSU.

In his short tenure, Rivera has dealt with a tumultuous series of issues arising from the franchise including current and former players facing other serious allegations, a monumental name change, and serious allegations of the culture within the team's executives.

Despite injuries mounting in two years for the 23-year-old back, it was expected that Guice would become the leading rusher in the backfield this season. Still, he had yet to prove to be a consistent contributor with only 42 carries for 245 yards and two touchdowns entering his third season.

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