Rubio hopes to return around Christmas; ankle still swollen

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Little Billy, a diehard Timberwolves fan, walked down his stairs Christmas morning, and amidst all the presents spotted something unusual.

Billy's first thought was, "Did Santa Claus get stuck?"

"No," he quickly thought as he noticed this thing was in far better shape than Santa.

It was a gift of some sort, almost as tall as the 7-foot Irish Pine his mother and father cut down at the local Christmas tree farm the day after Thanksgiving. It looked expensive; about $58 million, he guessed.

And it was moving.

Billy was frozen with fear and anticipation. His blue eyes watched the figure turn around; it smiled and said, "Billy, change this face. Be happy."

It was Ricky Rubio, the starting point guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves – right there on Christmas Day.

Billy's day was made as Rubio arrived in what he, Flip Saunders and the rest of the Timberwolves hoped would turn out to be a holiday miracle.

The end.

OK, for real now. Rubio, according the Pioneer Press, probably won't return from a severely sprained left ankle until Christmas – at the earliest. According to ESPN, it could take up to ten weeks for the point guard to return. Christmas will mark about seven weeks since his injury.

Rubio was hurt in a Nov. 7 loss to the Orlando Magic. He spoke about the injury Thursday.

"First time I saw my foot, it was all blue," he said. "It was kind of disgusting. When I went down, I felt a little pop, and I knew it was over."

Rubio is "pushing hard" to return as quickly as possible, rehabbing two-to-three times daily.

The 23-year-old, who recently signed a $58 million contract extension to stay in Minnesota, was averaging 9.4 points and 10 assists per game before the injury.

Minnesota hosts the San Antonio Spurs Friday and the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.

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