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Wed, 21 Nov 2012 10:12 AM EST

Ricky Rubio is back on the practice court with the remainder of the Timberwolves.

It’s still going to be a while before he’ll join them in games, but just seeing their dynamic point guard inching closer to a return is one of the 1st health positives this injury-plagued team saw this season. Rubio has started to do some light 5-on-none work in practice for the Minnesota Timberwolves, another inspiring sign in his long rehabilitation from a ripped ACL in his left knee.

Kevin Love, who has yet to play this season as a result of a broken right hand, also joined in the instructional portions of practice on Sunday. It is a sign that help is on the way for a team which has played the last 3 games with just 9 players, even if it doesn’t come till next month.

”Just having those 5-on- (none) gives you a sense that when you get them back we will be pretty good,” Coach Rick Adelman related after practice. ”We can’t wait for them. We should go out there and play. But it gives us a sense.”

Love is expected back at the start of December, while Rubio is optimistic to return game action sometime in the middle of next month.

Rubio was injured in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on March 9. Losing him coincided with a number of other injuries to turn a promising season south in a hurry, and the bad luck has followed the Wolves into this season. Love broke his hand less than 2 weeks before opening night. Chase Budinger is out 3 to 4 months after having surgery on his left knee and Nikola Pekovic (sprained left ankle); J.J. Barea (twisted left foot) and Brandon Roy (sore right knee) have all suffered injuries the Wolves are hopeful have much shorter recuperation times since the season started. Baseball betting lines

Despite all of the injuries, the Wolves won 5 of their first 7 games. But they’ve lost 2 in a row, with Andrei Kirilenko saying after the loss to Warriors that it appeared the short-handed team was running out of gas.

But everyone seems to be waiting for Love and Rubio, the dynamic point guard whose infectious attitude, flashy passing and perimeter defense fueled a basketball revival for a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2004. Rubio started to do lateral movement earlier in the month, but Adelman said they won’t have a clear agenda for his return till he starts full-contact work in practice.

”Ricky’s so smart,” Adelman said. ”He knew everything, every play we had and where everybody should be. That’s just who he is. The more we get him on the court, regardless of if it’s 5-on-none and doing some shooting, it’s good for the team.”

While he has been out, Rubio has been a constant presence on the Timberwolves bench, encouraging teammates and handing out some information whenever can; particularly to rookie guard Alexey Shved.

Although Rubio starts to ramp things up, Adelman said the team will be cautious bringing him back.

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