Ricky Rubio was having a tremendous showing at the Smoothie King Center on Tuesday.
But with just minutes to go, Rubio’s night ended prematurely after his left knee buckled beneath him — which sent the Cleveland Cavaliers point guard crumbling to the ground in pain. By Wednesday afternoon, his season was over.
Rubio tore his left ACL in the final stretch of the Cavaliers’ 108-104 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday, officially ending his season.
Rubio started driving past Devonte’ Graham through the lane late in the fourth quarter on Tuesday night when he slipped awkwardly just after crossing the free throw line. As he started to go down, Rubio’s left knee bent back awkwardly.
Rubio instantly grabbed his left knee once he was down on the court and started waving for help from the bench, clearly in pain.
Rubio was then helped off the court and back to the locker room without putting any weight on his left leg whatsoever.
He finished the night just one assist shy of a triple-double, ending with 27 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.
Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said that Rubio was being evaluated after the game, and that they weren’t sure how severe his injury was. An MRI on Wednesday revealed the torn ACL, which is the same one he tore in 2012.
Rubio has averaged 12.7 points and 6.5 assists this season, his first in Cleveland. The 31-year-old is in the final year of a three-year, $51 million deal he initially signed with the Phoenix Suns.
Herbert Jones led the Pelicans — who trailed by as many as 23 in the first quarter and rallied back after a huge defensive stand in the fourth — with 26 points and seven rebounds while shooting 10 of 18 from the field. Graham added 18 points, and Garrett Temple finished with 17 points. They made a season-high 16 3-pointers as a team in the win, their fifth in their last sixth.
Evan Mobley finished the night with 22 points and seven rebounds while shooting 9 of 11 from the field, and Kevin Love added 21 points off the bench. The Cavaliers have now dropped two of their past three coming off an impressive six-game win streak.