You can basically blame Kobe Bryant for Rubio's downfall. Well, not really. While Ricky's problems started when he was a rookie after he sustained a left ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) tear that needed a reconstruction, the problems that followed could have been avoided. In 2014, Rubio had a severely sprained left ankle which he re-injured in 2015. In February 2018, he had a mysterious left hip injury, followed by some hamstring "soreness" in early April.This leads us to a left hamstring strain on Friday night in the series clinching win over the Oklahoma Thunder that will supposedly sideline him for 10 days.
Watching his first injury against Kobe, the play looked routine. Rubio hedged out against Kobe trying to take a charge and fell to the floor grabbing his knee right away. After taking a closer look, it seems as if Rubio's knee was in the perfect position to get injured versus anything Kobe actually did.
Watching his severe inversion (ankle roll) sprain, Rubio cut down the lane and stepped on the foot of Willie Green. Without the ability of the foot and peroneal muscles (outer leg) to control the inversion moment, his ankle basically gave way and led to him being out for 43 games and more than 2 months. After all that time, one would think Rubio would come back better than ever...
After being off your leg for a long period of time, you start to lose the natural muscle memory and joint mobility of that leg. After tearing his ACL and then severely injuring his ankle, both on the left side, Rubio seems to have left sided deficits including limited ankle and hip mobility that puts excessive strain on the hamstring,which its main job is to powerfully extend the hip with running. If he is not co-activating his Glutes and has stiffness in the hip and ankle joint, he asks of his hamstring way more than it could handle. In the offseason, he will need to make some major adjustments in his mobility, muscle activation and movement patterns if he wants to have a full, healthy season in the NBA.
The Injury Analyst is a blog dedicated to not only explaining injuries that have occurred, but predicting and highlighting future injury risks for professional athletes. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: I have not seen the subject of this article personally in clinic, rather all views and opinions of the author have been made based off of video footage of the athlete. This article is not meant as a diagnosis or a treatment plan.