Cavalier guard Rubio set for MRI on injured left knee

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CLEVELAND (AP) — Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio is scheduled to undergo an MRI after injuring his left knee on Tuesday night in New Orleans.

Rubio, who has had a major impact on Cleveland's turnaround in first season with the team, slipped as he planted in the lane on a drive and his knee buckled with two minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Rubio collapsed to the floor, grabbed his knee and was in obvious distress before being helped to his feet and walked to the locker room for evaluation. He was unable to put any weight on his left leg while being assisted by teammates Isaac Okoro and Kevin Love.

The Cavs have not provided a preliminary diagnosis on Rubio.

Before getting hurt, Rubio, who was starting at the point against the Pelicans because Darius Garland was placed in health and safety protocols, scored 27 points while adding 13 rebounds and eight assists.

The Cavs, who have 20 wins in 34 games after winning just 22 last season, fell apart after Rubio left and lost 108-104.

The loss of Rubio for any period is a significant blow to the Cavaliers. The 31-year-old has brought leadership, energy and served as a mentor to Cleveland's young players since arriving in a summer trade from Minnesota.

He's also had a positive effect on Love, his former Timberwolves' teammate, who is thriving in a reserve role.

“Him and I have such a history," Love said following the game. "I really care for him. I’m just praying that he’s going to be OK. We don’t know what the near future is going to hold for him. We’re just completely gutted. He was having such a great season.”

Rubio picked up where he left off after starring for Spain's Olympic team last summer in Tokyo. He's averaging 13.1 points, 6.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds in 34 games. Rubio is only under contract through this season.

As a rookie, Rubio tore his left anterior cruciate ligament during a collision with late Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.

The Cavs play at Washington on Friday.

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More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Tom Withers, The Associated Press

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