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NBA Rumors Round-Up

NBA Rumors: Ricky Rubio to Return Monday

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Check out the biggest rumors of the day in our NBA Rumor Round-Up. For more rumors and news, check out Basketball Insiders’ headlines, which are constantly being updated.

Rubio Returning on Monday

Ricky Rubio is one game away from returning to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Rubio has been cleared to play Monday night against the Dallas Mavericks, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Saturday.

via Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press

This is good news for the Timberwolves, although they’re not playing for much at this point since they have the NBA’s worst record at 8-39. Still, it will be good for Rubio to gain chemistry with Minnesota’s other young core pieces.

Because he was injured so early in the season (during a Nov. 7 road game against the Orlando Magic), he only appeared in five regular season games with rookies Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine. Getting them on the court together will be good for Minnesota.

Rubio has missed 43 games since injuring his left ankle, and he was out longer than expected. Now, it appears he’ll be ready to go on Monday when the Timberwolves take on the Dallas Mavericks. Krawczynski reports that Rubio’s minutes will be restricted until after the All-Star break as he eases back.

Prior to his injury, Rubio was averaging 9.4 points, 10 assists and 5.6 rebounds. He inked a four-year extension worth $54 million before the season.

Sefolosha Out Six-to-Eight Weeks

Forward Thabo Sefolosha suffered a right calf strain against the Portland Trail Blazers last night. An MRI and examination taken today at the Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic confirmed the calf strain. The expected recovery time is approximately six-to-eight weeks and his status will be updated as appropriate.

via Atlanta Hawks press release

This is a tough blow for the Hawks, especially since DeMarre Carroll is also hurt. Thabo Sefolosha started Friday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers in place of Carroll, and injured his right calf just two minutes into the contest.

Now, he’ll miss six-to-eight weeks as he recovers from the injury. Carroll is still out as well, but it seems like his injury (a left Achilles strain) isn’t as serious and he could be back any day now.

Fortunately for Atlanta, they have a balanced attack and a very deep team so they have been able to withstand these injuries (beating Portland and then defeating Philadelphia on Saturday as well).

They have won 19 straight games and 33 of their last 35 contests. They have already won 40 games this season, after totaling just 38 wins in all of last season.

Even if the Hawks come back down to earth and regress a bit, they have built themselves a nice cushion in the Eastern Conference, where they’re seven games up on the second-ranked Toronto Raptors and nine games up on the third-ranked Washington Wizards.

Knicks Sign Thomas for Rest of Season

New York Knickerbockers President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed forward Lance Thomas for the remainder of the season.

via New York Knicks press release

One day after signing Lou Amundson for the remainder of the season, the Knicks have decided to do the same with Lance Thomas.

They acquired both players as part of the three-way trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Oklahoma City Thunder, in which they gave up Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith.

Initially, Thomas and Amundson were waived by the Knicks, but then they brought them back on 10-day contracts and they earned their way into guaranteed deals.

Thomas, 6’8 and 225 pounds, is averaging 10.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists over 25.5 minutes in seven games (one start) with New York after signing the first of two 10-day contracts on Jan. 10.

He has exceeded expectations in New York and could play an even bigger role on the team moving forward since Carmelo Anthony is expected to undergo surgery and miss the remainder of the season at some point after the All-Star break.

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About Alex Kennedy

Alex Kennedy

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.