Europeans In The NBA Roundup

22 March 2012
6. Ricky Rubio (Spain)
Ricky Rubio's operation was succesful and now the Spain international starts the long road to recovery


The road to recovery starts now for Spain point guard Ricky Rubio, who on Wednesday underwent reconstructive knee surgery in the United States.

The Minnesota Timberwolves rookie tore his ACL and LCL recently.

The Timberwolves said a statement: "Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio underwent successful surgery today to reconstruct a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and a torn LCL (lateral collateral ligament) in his left knee.

"The surgery was performed by Dr. Richard Steadman at The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado.

"Rubio's injury occurred with 16 seconds remaining in the Timberwolves game vs. the L.A. Lakers on Friday, 9 March."

Rubio, a three-time FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year, competed with Spain's senior team for the fourth consecutive summer last year and helped them defend their EuroBasket title.

The 21-year-old had to wait a while to launch his NBA career, though, because of the lockout.

Once the labour dispute was over, he made a dramatic impact for the Timberwolves.

In his 41 games, 31 of which he started, Rubio averaged 10.6 points, 8.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.22 steals.

When he went down with his injury, Rubio was third in the NBA in steals and fifth in assists and had won the hearts not only of fans in Minnesota, but supporters in many cities.


Rubio is not the only European star on the books of Minnesota who has been hurting of late.

Nikola Pekovic of Montenegro has been gritting his teeth and fighting through the pain barrier because of ankle injuries.

The club took the decision to send him back to Minnesota instead of letting him play on Wednesday night against San Antonio.

The Timberwolves are hoping that Pekovic can make it back stronger as they attempt to reach the Western Conference play-offs.

8. Danilo Gallinari (Italy)
Danilo Gallinari has evolved into an important player for the Denver Nuggets, but he's having a hard time staying fit

"Even in that Golden State game, you saw the difference at both ends when he's on the court," Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said.

"Even though he could hardly move in that game, he was hurting them around the basket, which opens it up for Kevin [Love] and our guards.

"We're hoping we get him back, but we want to be really careful with him because he's a tough guy.

"When he was limping around out there, you knew something was drastically wrong."


When Danilo Gallinari is healthy, he's one of the most exciting players in the NBA but the Italian can't seem to avoid the injury bug.

The latest ailment is a broken thumb that he suffered in a game against Dallas.

Gallinari's leaping ability worked against him because he was so high off the floor that he hit his thumb on the backboard.

"I was trying to block a shot, Gallinari said.

"I tried to play through, but it was getting worse second by second.

"I didn't know it was broken, but it hurt a lot."

A badly sprained ankle kept Gallinari off the court for 13 games earlier this season.

He returned to the Nuggets rotation on 5 March and was playing extremely well before his latest setback.

Gallinari is an integral part of Italy's national team and will be needed this summer when the Azzurri go up against Turkey, the Czech Republic, Belarus and Portugal in the EuroBasket 2013 Qualifying Round.


Ian Mahinmi has won the trust of coach Rick Carlisle again and is now back in the starting line-up of the Dallas Mavericks.

The Frenchman, played big minutes at the start of the season but saw a drastic reduction in court time.

The 2.11m center has averaged 25.2 minutes per contest in his last 10 games.


Turkey international Mehmet Okur is on the move again after being released by the Portland Trail Blazers.

Okur, traded by Utah to New Jersey after the NBA Lockout, was then sent to Portland before the 15 March trade deadline.

He has been waived by the Blazers.

If he is claimed on waivers, the team that signs him must honour his contract.

He will be a free agent and can sign with any team if he clears waivers.

During the NBA Lockout, Okur returned home to Turkey and played in the EuroChallenge with Turk Telekom.


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