AL HAMNIK: Robbie Hummel back to hooping it up for real

2013-01-21T17:00:00Z 2013-01-31T20:57:11Z AL HAMNIK: Robbie Hummel back to hooping it up for realAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
January 21, 2013 5:00 pm  • 

The injury-strapped Minnesota Timberwolves appear to be cursed, having to play with a seven-man roster last week while fighting for a postseason berth.

Forward Robbie Hummel, their second-round draft pick from Purdue, is not cursed, though Internet reports months ago had implied otherwise.

With permission from the Timberwolves, Hummel signed a one-year contract last August to play in Spain's renowned ACB League, using that experience to sharpen his game and strengthen his rehab.

SB Nation Minnesota then reported in September the 6-foot-8 Valparaiso grad, who suffered two torn ACLs in his right knee at Purdue, had again "injured" that knee and would need surgery for a torn meniscus.

He was expected to miss up to eight weeks.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune Web site had called it a "new injury."

But there were no other followups or post-surgery updates regarding Hummel's recovery.

"Oh, he's doing great now. He got to start for the first time a couple of games ago," said Linda Hummel, Robbie's mom.

Turns out, he did not injure the meniscus but simply had clean-up work done before the season even started to eliminate some discomfort.

The fact it was not a new injury, nothing genetic, is a relief to Timberwolves' management that has leading scorer/rebounder Nikola Pekovic (bruised quadriceps), Kevin Love (broken hand), Alexey Shved (ankle), Chase Budinger (knee), Brandon Roy (knee), Josh Howard (knee) and Malcolm Lee (hip) watching in street clothes.

Meanwhile, the news keeps getting better and better for Linda, husband Glenn and younger son Dan.

"We just found out Robbie's coming home for a few days. He gets to go to the Michigan State (at Purdue) game Feb. 9," Linda said.

Though nothing is official yet, there's talk Hummel might be honored that night by his alma mater.

It's a bye week for Hummel's Obradoiro team, located in Santiago de Compostela in northeast Spain -- a seven-hour time difference from Valparaiso.

The family spent 11 days "hanging out" with Robbie over the Christmas holidays, during which it rained the entire time. But they had a blast.

Obradoiro's games are not carried on Spanish TV, or the Internet. And if you find a Web Site that does, the games are usually a day or two old.

The Hummels rely completely on texting and Skype to keep in touch with Robbie, so any visit back to the region turns their household upside down.

Robbie returned to action in early November and his minutes have generally increased, according to Glenn.

"I think the biggest problem (with his recovery) was that Robbie had always been surrounded by great people. But in Spain, he knew nobody," Linda said.

Former Ohio State star William Bufford, his American teammate, gave Hummel the needed support and encouragement. They are now best friends.

Cursed? Not at all. More like blessed.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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