Rubio returns to Cavs more than a year after knee injury

Sports

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Ricky Rubio played for Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night for the first time since injuring his knee more than a year ago.

Listed as questionable on the pregame injury report for the game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Rubio came in off the bench out of a timeout with 3:38 left in the opening quarter.

Rubio, 32, tore his left anterior cruciate while driving to the basket at New Orleans on Dec. 28, 2021. He averaged 13.1 points and 6.6 assists in 34 games last season before getting hurt.

“He’s a magnificent spirit, that’s all I can say, ” Cavs coach B.J. Bickerstaff said. “I’m just being honest, I don’t think I’ve ever been around a guy who has the spirit that Ricky has, that teammates just want to be around and be a part of. It’s extremely unique. There’s not a selfish bone in his body, like everything he does, he does just to help everybody else.”

Bickerstaff said Rubio would play for short stints as he eases back into the season.

The Cavs traded Rubio at the deadline last year and then re-signed the popular guard as a free agent during the summer. He has averaged 11.1 points and 7.6 assists in 11 seasons.

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AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.

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