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Tue, 02 Oct 2012 02:30 AM EDT

Ricky Rubio’s return to the Timberwolves is coming. His rehabilitation from reconstructive left knee surgery is on schedule. He’s just not sure exactly when the process will be complete.

”I’m trying to do as much things as I can do. They should stop me sometimes because I want to do more. Often it’s bad for my knee to do more,” Rubio related at the team’s practice facility.

He could be playing in games by December, or perhaps not until January. Just so long as he doesn’t try and come back too soon and risk re-injury or be too rusty.

”I don’t really want to say a time because I do not really want to rush it. I just wish to be ready when I’m ready,” he revealed.

Rubio started to run 3 weeks ago, about 6 miles per hour on a treadmill. Jumping is still prohibited, so his shooting is actually limited to the free-throw line for the next few months. Agility work will come in three or a month. He’s at that point in the anterior cruciate ligament recovery when patience becomes even more difficult to maintain. Missing the end of last season was tough enough. Now he has to continue to watch while the work on the court goes on without him.

”You always have concerns and consider how you’re going to come back. You simply have to trust. I’m doing my best to be ready to be as strong as I can. I cannot do more. I just want to be back fast as possible, but healthy as possible too,” Rubio said. ”You feel how fortunate you are when you’re playing. So I am going to be blessed when I come back and play.”

Rubio was hurt at the end of Minnesota’s game against the L.A Lakers last March 9, when he tried to plant his leg while defending Kobe Bryant. With one awkward bend of the point guard’s most crucial joint, Rubio’s impressive newbie season was over.

And so was that realistic chance the Minnesota Timberwolves had of making the playoffs for the 1st time since 2004. They went 5-20 after Rubio was hurt. NFL scores

The team’s core of Rubio, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic and Derrick Williams stayed intact, but only 7 of the 15 players on the list at the end of last season are still around. Michael Beasley, Darko Milicic, Anthony Randolph, Anthony Tolliver and Martell Webster were let go when their agreements expired. Andrei Kirilenko and Brandon Roy were the headliner acquisitions, and Rubio sounded excited, noting Roy’s 24-point, 5-assist performance in the 2011 playoffs for Portland in a 1st-round win against eventual NBA champion Dallas.

”If he will be able to be that good, we’re going to get to the playoffs for sure,” Rubio expounded.

Rubio turns 22-year-old next month. He averaged 10.6 points, 8.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 takes in 34.2 minutes, but the energy and confidence he brought to the Timberwolves was equally significant. His teammates, he announced, will give him the same boost this fall as he pushes toward completion of his recovery.

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