March 10, 2012 / 11:01 PM / 7 years ago

Rubio to miss Olympics and NBA season with knee injury

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio shoots a free throw during the second half of the Timberwolves' NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers in the Target Center in Minneapolis, March 5, 2012. Minnesota won 95-94. REUTERS/Eric Miller

(Reuters) - Minnesota’s Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio will miss the rest of the National Basketball Association (NBA) season and the London Olympics after badly injuring his knee, the Timberwolves announced on Saturday.

Rubio’s left knee buckled when he collided with Kobe Bryant in the final minute of the Timberwolves’ 105-102 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

The 21-year-old underwent scans on his return to Minneapolis on Saturday which confirmed he had torn the anterior cruciate ligament, forcing him to have surgery and take a long break.

“Obviously, Ricky’s injury is an unfortunate turn of events for him and our team,” Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said in a statement.

“I feel bad for Ricky having to miss the rest of this season. But Ricky is a competitor, and I am confident that he will work hard to get back on the court next year and continue his progression as one of the top point guards in our league.”

In 41 games this season, Rubio averaged 10.6 points, 8.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds and was a leading candidate for the NBA Rookie of the Year award.

His departure is a major setback for both the Timberwolves, who were contending for a spot in the playoffs, and Spain, regarded as one of the medal contenders for the London Olympics.

Reporting by Julian Linden in New York; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes

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