|11 March 2012|
EUROPEANS IN THE NBA
|Barring a miraculous recovery, Ricky Rubio will not play for EuroBasket champions Spain at the London Olympics in the summer|
Messages of support have been pouring in for Ricky Rubio following the announcement that the Minnesota Timberwolves rookie tore his ACL in Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
A three-time FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year, the Spaniard will be sidelined for at least six months.
That means the 21-year-old won't be able to help the Timberwolves in their fight to make the post-season, and will also miss out on playing at a second straight Olympics for his country.
Rubio had provided a spark for Minnesota in this NBA Lockout-shortened season and helped turn a struggling franchise into a possible play-off team.
The young point guard was thriving in his rookie season in the NBA, averaging 10.6 points, 8.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals.
He had captured the imagination of all NBA fans, and players - including the top American stars that were hoping to face him at the London Games.
The NBA had only just introduced a television commercial promoting Rubio's passion, "unbridled joy" and ability to see things before they happen.
Many players in the NBA, and in Europe, have gone on Twitter to try and cheer Rubio up.
Kevin Love, one of the finalists for Team USA'S Olympic squad who plays with Rubio in Minnesota, was among the first to offer encouragement.
He tweeted: "Love my teammate and friend @rickyrubio9. Here's to a quick recovery. We will miss you."
Pau Gasol, who played for the Lakers on Friday night against Rubio, tweeted: "All my support to my friend and mate @rickyrubio9 after knowing the hard news about the results on his knee injury."
Rudy Fernandez of the Denver Nuggets, said: "All my support to my friend and mate @rickyrubio9."
Gasol and Fernandez had been Spain teammates of Rubio's in the EuroBasket gold-medal winning teams of 2009 and 2011 and both have had their share of injuries.
So has Victor Claver, another of Spain's top young players and a good friend of Rubio.
Claver tweeted: "All day I was waiting to hear about @rickyrubio9 and in the end the worst news .. The bitter side of the sport, but you have to be strong. Much encouragement!"
Perhaps more telling have been the well wishes from the leading American players, an ultimate show of respect for Rubio.
Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat superstar, competed against Rubio at the Beijing Games and was looking forward to going up against him again.
D-Wade tweeted: "Ricky Rubio's injury isn't 1 that any basketball fan wanted 2 C. He's had an amazing rookie season & has brought life back 2 a franchise. Speedy recovery to one of the young great guards in our game."
Wade's Miami and USA teammate, LeBron James, also tweeted: "S/O to Ricky Rubio! Have a speedy and successful recovery."
Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City scoring machine who was the MVP of the 2010 World Championship, tweeted: "Praying that Ricky Rubio has a speedy recovery!"
Stephen Curry, who played at the World Championship for Team USA, said: "Prayers to Ricky Rubio. Keep your head up and hoping for a speedy recovery. #Classof09"