SALT LAKE CITY — As the Utah Jazz look to continue their hot streak after the All-Star break, a familiar face will return to the lineup.
After missing the last three games with left hip soreness, point guard Ricky Rubio will return to action tonight at 7 p.m. against the Portland Trail Blazers in Vivint Arena.
Utah (30-28) is looking to extend its win streak to 12 in a row.
“Being out for a couple weeks, I couldn’t do much, so it’s going to be hard for that, but I’ve been doing a pretty good job to stay in shape,” Rubio said. “When you have a good momentum like that, it’s hard to know when to go out there and be aggressive, but I think I just have to be me.”
Ricky Rubio is happy to be back tonight vs. Portland. He learned how tough his teammates were during his 3-game absence. pic.twitter.com/HFOxUSf1w3— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) February 23, 2018
Coach Quin Snyder wouldn’t confirm whether or not Rubio would be starting, but doesn’t expect to ease him into the action slowly.
His minutes will likely be monitored and determined based on his productivity after sitting out for two weeks. He last played against Charlotte on Feb. 9.
“You throw him in, he’s an NBA player and he’s played really well and he’s our point guard so there’s no easing,” Snyder said. “You ease him back into it from a physical standpoint, I think conditioning and those things, but he’s not going to come back with probably the same timing and same pop that he’s had two weeks ago, because he’s been out and you need to get your timing back, but I don’t think we treat him with kid gloves.”
Prior to the injury, Rubio was playing some of the best basketball of his career offensively, averaging 18.9 points, 7.6 assists and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 53 percent from the field in eight consecutive victories.
For the season, Rubio is logging 12.3 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds on 41.0 percent shooting. His teammates are excited to welcome him back.
“It’s good to have him back, good to have him healthy,” said Jazz forward Derrick Favors. “I know he was dealing with a little injury but it’s just good to have him back to continue getting better each game, continue fighting for a playoff spot and continuing to improve throughout the season, so it’s just good to have guys healthy.”