When the epitaph is finally written on the Minnesota Timberwolves 2011-12 season, you can bet Ricky Rubio's knee injury will be prominent.
Minnesota has basically fallen out of playoff contention since losing its star rookie and will be aiming to end a three-game losing streak on Wednesday when they entertain the Golden State Warriors in the Twin Cities.
The Timberwolves have fallen 4 1/2 games behind Houston for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference after a dismal 4-11 stretch, beginning with a loss at Target Center against the Lakers on March 9, the game in which Rubio was lost for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee.
Rubio was averaging 10.6 points and a team-leading 8.2 assists before the injury and teamed with All-Star Kevin Love to make Minnesota relevant again.
The team's latest loss came on Monday in Sacramento, a 116-108 setback to the Kings. Love totaled 23 points and seven rebounds for the Timberwolves in that one while Nikola Pekovic added 17 points and Luke Ridnour donated 13 points and six assists in the loss despite spraining his right ankle.
"I thought our team really committed ... and that's what we have to do if we're going to turn this around," said Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman.
Ridnour is expected to be sidelined for the immediate future but fellow guard J.J. Barea could make his return to the lineup after missing six games with a bruised right thigh. Forward Michael Beasley (sprained left big toe) and center Darko Milicic (strained right hamstring) are both doubtful for banged- up Minnesota tonight.
The Warriors, meanwhile, have lost a season-high six games after a 98-94 hiccup in Memphis on Tuesday.
David Lee registered a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds for Golden State, which is 0-2 on a four-game road trip that will end in Utah on Friday. Nate Robinson added 18 points and five assists.
"They're a veteran basketball team that turned up the volume, turned up the heat," Golden State head coach Mark Jackson said of Memphis.
The Warriors have now lost 11 of 13 games since trading Monta Ellis, the team's leading scorer, to Milwaukee in a blockbuster five-player deal on March 14.
The Wolves have won two of their last three over Golden State, including a 97-93 triumph in Oakland on March 19.