The Utah Jazz are shorthanded at the point guard position for Thursday’s game against the Denver Nuggets. While starter Ricky Rubio was ruled out due to left hamstring tightness, it was revealed that Raul Neto will be sidelined with the same injury. Beyond that, Dante Exum (ankle) has been out since January 7.
With the trio of point guards out, this means Donovan Mitchell will likely hold down the fort against the Nuggets. Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News reported Rubio’s absence, and shortly after the news came to light, the 28-year-old took to Twitter and sent an interesting message out.
As far as what that means, it’s anyone’s guess. There’s a chance it may have absolutely nothing at all to do with the injury or Rubio missing this game. For what it’s worth, he had finally started to find his groove a bit after missing six games back in January to a hamstring injury.
Obviously, if the hamstring ailment is becoming somewhat of a nagging injury that’s lingered, this would be pretty frustrating for Rubio, although he had played 13 games since that point.
Ricky Rubio’s Solid February Stat Line
While Rubio has posted marks of 13.2 points, 6.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game this season, he had shot just 41.2 percent from the field. But through eight games in the month of February, the exceptional passer has put together consistent and well-rounded stat lines. Over that stretch, he’s tallied 15.6 points, 5.6 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.4 steals while shooting 46.7 percent from the field.
Arguably the most impressive aspect of this line is that he had a rough showing against the Houston Rockets when he shot 0-for-4 from the field with just six points and two assists. That was a tough 125-98 loss which brought his overall numbers down. In the eight games this month, Rubio has shot 44.4 percent or better in five games while totaling 13 or more points in seven of eight.
Utah Jazz Playoff Outlook
The Western Conference playoff picture is tough to gauge and there are quite a few lingering questions right now. Fortunately, the Jazz find themselves in a decent position, sitting with a 34-26 record and in the No. 6 spot currently. They hold a 1.5 game lead on both the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers as of Thursday night and are 3.5 games up on the Sacramento Kings, who are on the outside looking in.
Looking up in the standings, Utah has work to do in order to catch the Houston Rockets, who are two games up at this point and hold the No. 5 seed. Ahead of them is the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder, who are 3.5 and four games up on the Jazz heading into the final stretch of the season.