The new-look Cleveland Cavaliers have been one of the feel-good stories of the 2021-22 NBA season thus far, but over the last 24 hours the organization's outlook has taken a turn for the worse.
Veteran point guard Ricky Rubio suffered an ACL tear in his left knee during Tuesday night's game against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Cavaliers confirmed on Wednesday. The injury will sideline the 31-year-old for the remainder of the season.
Cleveland feared the worse on Tuesday when Rubio's knee buckled while he was driving through the lane. Almost immediately, those who were close to the veteran point guard knew the injury was serious.
Rubio had 27 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists prior to leaving the Cavaliers-Pelicans game in the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately, it's not the first time that Rubio has torn the ACL in his left knee. He also injured the the ligament in 2012, during his first season in the NBA.
Rubio's diagnosis this time around is particularly devastating, considering he'd developed into a vital piece of the Cavaliers rotation and a team leader. The 11-year NBA vet was averaging 13.1 points, 6.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game prior to Tuesday night's game.
“It’s really hard for me because I could see the pain he was in when he went down,” Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love said, via Bleacher Report. “Him and I have such a history. I really care for him. I’m just praying that he’s going to be OK. We don’t know what the near future is going to hold for him. We’re just completely gutted. He was having such a great season.”
Love wasn't the only one heartbroken to receive the news about Rubio. The NBA world was filled with fans and media members expressing their sympathies to the veteran point guard on Wednesday.
Rubio is the second important guard that the Cavaliers have lost to injury this year. 2018 first-round pick Collin Sexton already suffered a torn meniscus earlier this season.
With both backcourt players now out of the picture, the upstart Cavs (20-14) will have to find contributions from other parts of the roster if they hope to remain in possession of an Eastern Conference playoff spot.