Rubio’s focus still on big picture away from basketball after getting COVID-19

Jul 22, 2020, 3:08 PM

Ricky Rubio #11 of the Phoenix Suns attempts a shot against the Sacramento Kings during the second ...

Ricky Rubio #11 of the Phoenix Suns attempts a shot against the Sacramento Kings during the second half of the NBA game at Talking Stick Resort Arena on October 23, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Kings 124-95. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns have their starting point guard back and he’s healthy, which is all that really matters, but Ricky Rubio provided some additional details as to why he was away.

Rubio said on Wednesday that he was not with the Suns in the Orlando bubble because he had the coronavirus.

“I’m good, I’m healthy,” he said.

Rubio would not say when he tested positive for COVID-19 but noted it was while he was in Phoenix as his family was back in Spain.

The 29-year-old was seen on video at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in late June, where individual workouts started up before the team departed for Orlando. Rubio would then not make the trip with the team to the bubble.

His first practice with the team was on Tuesday and Rubio said he joined the team in Orlando “a few days ago.” All players had a mandatory quarantine period upon arrival, which is assumingly what Rubio had been going through prior to his first time back on the court.

Rubio got his two mandatory negative tests to get to Orlando, along with a few more as he continues to go through testing in the bubble like his team.

Fellow teammate Aron Baynes is still trying to get there, as he is still testing positive for coronavirus. Guards Jalen Lecque and Elie Okobo are away from the team due to personal matters.

Rubio spoke on the importance of this time for the Suns to bond, and hopefully make the playoffs, but sounded like someone who still primarily had his mind on what is going on across the world in a pandemic while protests for social justice and police brutality continue.

“At the end of the day, basketball right now is not the first thing that we’re thinking when it comes to life right now. There’s a lot on everybody’s plate and we’ve got to think for the big picture,” he said.

Rubio will be one of several players to wear a social justice message on the back of his jersey, choosing “Justice.”

The long-time veteran was on several calls the league made available to players to further educate themselves, including one with Breonna Taylor’s mother.

“I put justice because I feel like there has to be some justice, especially for all of those who have been affected — Breonna Taylor for example,” he said.

Rubio said he wants to use this time in the bubble not only for the team to get closer but to do so through discussing those issues as well.

It sounds like he’s gonna need a bit of time to get back in basketball shape as well. Rubio said he’s been away from the game for effectively 3-4 months. That is understandable given Rubio just had his first child back in January and was banged up for a portion of this season.

But that makes the next week of practices and scrimmages more important for him than anybody else, giving him 10 days to get ready. Rubio said he is going to come together with the staff to craft a plan for the best way to escalate towards in-game action.

“I gotta figure out a way to give my best to the team but still stay focused on my health too,” he said.

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