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Cavs’ Ricky Rubio says his comeback ‘not just about today’

PORTLAND — The Cleveland Cavaliers’ guard ended a season more than a year after the ACL tear in December 2021 Ricky Rubio Back on the court Thursday, he helped the Cavaliers to a 119-113 come-from-behind win over the hosts Portland Trail Blazers.

Playing on the one-minute limit, Rubio played 10 minutes off the bench, scoring 9 points on 3-of-5 shooting and grabbing 3 rebounds.

“It felt good,” Rubio said of his first game. “At first it felt weird, especially the first time, but then it just kind of went back to normal. Of course there’s going to be rhythm and stuff, but there was a lot of emotion in there today. To stay healthy. I just work hard all year long.” I’m grateful to be able to play basketball again. ”

Rubio’s Cleveland teammates were also thrilled to see him back on the court. He was a key part of the Cavaliers’ early start last season, but returned to Cleveland as a free agent after being traded to the Indiana Pacers during rehab, citing team chemistry as the reason for his return.

Offseason trade reunites Rubio with Cavaliers rookie Donovan Mitchellteammate for the first two seasons of Mitchell’s career with the Utah Jazz.

“I couldn’t stop smiling,” Mitchell said. “It felt like a rookie year. It’s just a full-circle moment for me, but it’s great to see him out after the ACL. He also hit two big threes and led the offense. Did.”

Initially, Cleveland coach JB Bickerstaff told reporters that he was scheduled to face Rubio in the first two stints. Rubio was on the court for less than six minutes total, so Bickerstaff was able to pull him back in his third stretch of the third quarter.

Afterwards, Rubio said he felt better physically because the cardio training was more challenging than the game action.

The Cavaliers are cautious about Rubio’s timetable, who said he’s ready to play “for a long time.” He said he understood the long-term thinking.

“I didn’t just work to come back today,” said Rubio. Instead, I am looking forward to a strong season.”

Still, Rubio was able to appreciate the milestone of the first NBA game in 380 days.

“It’s been frustrating ever since,” he said.When [my teammates].”

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