While the Suns were ultimately unable to finish off their comeback against the Lakers at STAPLES Center, the worst result of the game was that Ricky Rubio had to be helped off the floor during the fourth quarter.
Rubio appeared to slip as he ran to keep up with Avery Bradley along the baseline. He was on the floor for several moments as the Suns pushed the ball up the floor. Rather than call a timeout, Devin Booker put up a quick shot expecting to get a foul call, then did not. That meant Mikal Bridges had to burn a foul of his own to stop the action.
Game footage showed Anthony Davis slipping in the same spot moments before, after which point no baseline game assistants wiped the floor.
Sweaty Anthony Davis slides all over the floor & what happens to Ricky Rubio on the very next play?— David Kevin (@theIVpointplay) January 2, 2020
I get it's mostly kids/volunteers (?) but what are we training them to do? What if that was LeBron on a drive? pic.twitter.com/SMhfJ6ZJjW
At that point, the Suns trainers had to help Rubio to the locker room as he limped off the floor, his movement severely hampered.
Immediately after the game, coach Monty Williams would not speak to the severity or even the location of the injury. That information probably had not reached him fully yet.
Monty Williams did not have an immediate update on Ricky Rubio. Did not even specify what part of the body was injured. #Suns— Gina Mizell (@ginamizell) January 2, 2020
When media was let into the locker room, apparently Rubio was nearby, and gave an update of his own. Teammates likely breathed a sigh of relief when they found out it was Rubio’s hip and nothing more serious.
Rubio said the injury is to his hip. He is waking around with a slight limp, but not nearly as bad as when he left the court. Did not know about his status for Friday’s game or beyond. #Suns— Gina Mizell (@ginamizell) January 2, 2020
Initially, it appeared Rubio may have pulled or torn an upper leg muscle such as his groin or hamstring. Hip injuries of course can be just as serious, but all things considered, Rubio’s ability to move about the locker room is reason for optimism based on how he looked right after the fall.
As Mizell reported above, Rubio did not yet know about whether he might play Friday against the Knicks or how long he would be out. The fact that he was already able to dress postgame and was finished with treatment and testing has to be a positive. If he is even considering Friday a possibility, that’s already better than expected.
The Suns are a dramatically better team when Rubio is on the court. Any time without him will be just as ugly as the mid-November stretch when he missed time with back spasms.
As the Suns begin a weak, home-heavy January schedule, they will need their star play-maker in the lineup to make up ground in the Western Conference playoff race.