DALLAS (AP) — Ricky Rubio was back in the starting lineup for the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night after missing 42 games over nearly three months because of an ankle injury.
The game at Dallas was Rubio's first since severely spraining his left ankle Nov. 7 at Orlando.
Because of the extended absence, coach Flip Saunders said he didn't anticipate Rubio playing more than about 20 minutes.
"Coming back from the type of injury he had it would be very difficult to throw him out there for 30 or 40 minutes," Saunders said before the game.
Asked what limitations Rubio would have, Saunders responded, "Just a coach's limitations."
Minnesota also got back guard Mo Williams, who missed the past two games with a sore left hip.
Rubio's injury came only a week after he agreed to a $55 million, four-year extension with the Timberwolves. He was averaging 9.4 points and a career-best 10 assists per game when he got hurt.
"He's a leader on the floor. He gets guys to spots, and the main thing is getting him to play with (rookie Andrew) Wiggins. They're two of our top guys, and we envision those guys being able to play very well together," Saunders said. "It's not just going to happen. It's going to take a little while to develop chemistry. It will be an evaluation really to decide on the players we have who are going to be important players moving forward."
Dallas scored the game's first 10 points, and Rubio missed his first two shots before hitting a 21-foot jumper with 7:51 left in the first quarter to get Minnesota on the scoreboard.