|09 May 2013|
|Ricky Rubio feels he is back to full strength after tearing his ACL in March 2012 |
Point guard Ricky Rubio confirmed on Wednesday that he will play for Spain at Eurobasket 2013, should new Spain head coach Juan Antonio Orenga include him in the squad that travels to Slovenia.
"I had told Juan [Orenga] that if I had no problem with my knee at the end of the season, my 'yes' to play at the EuroBasket would be 100%," the Minnesota Timberwolves player said at a press conference for his annual summer camp for children in Barcelona.
"And I feel fine, so if he calls me, I will be there," he added.
The charismatic playmaker's rookie NBA season was cut short as he tore his ACL in March 2012, during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rubio missed out on the London Olympics with the national team and returned to action last December, but could not help Minnesota secure a place in the Western Conference play-offs.
He admitted that after all this time, at least in certain respects, he is still not entirely the player he used to be.
"Maybe I don't jump as high as I used to, but then again I never could jump," Rubio said jokingly.
"To be honest, I still have not dunked since my return, however overall I am very satisfied with my progress.
"The first month back on the court the knee was bothering me and I did not quite feel like myself.
"But, after that, I have had consistency and played 52 [NBA Regular Season] games, so that aim has been accomplished."
Rubio is the de facto prodigy of European basketball; he made his debut in the Spanish ACB with Joventut Badalona before turning 15, and in the Euroleague before his 17th birthday.
"There is still a lot in me left from that child that debuted with the 'Penya' [Badalona] at 14, because I am still playing with the same enthusiasm and hope as I did then," he said.
And there is one aspect of his game whose improvement he still considers as his major pending assignment.
|Pau Gasol will undergo surgery, potentially damaging his chances of playing in Slovenia|
"I am planning to make a qualitative leap this summer," he announced.
"I will work on my jump shot, not so much on the percentage as on the selection of shots; it's going to be the first summer that I will have time to work on it."
While Orenga must have definitively been delighted to hear about Rubio's availability for the EuroBasket, other news related to the reigning European champions that came out on Wednesday was not so encouraging.
The Lakers announced that Pau Gasol, the pillar of Spanish success over the last decade, will undergo ultrasonic treatment to remove scar tissue in both of his knees in an effort to 'regenerate his tendons'.
Gasol was submitted to medical tests in Los Angeles last week, following his team's exit in the first round of the NBA play-offs at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs.
The results showed that the plantar fasciitis condition he struggled with throughout the season has subsided considerably, but he had developed tendinosis, which amounts to degeneration of tissue, in his knees.
While ultrasonic treatment does not require any surgery, there is now concern in Spain that the 33-year-old superstar might not conclude his rehabilitation in time to join the national team's training camp on 1 August.
The two-time EuroBasket champions were drawn in First Round Group C at EuroBasket and will go up against hosts Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Georgia and the Czech Republic.