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Ricky Rubio stepping away from basketball to focus on mental health

Ricky Rubio stepping away from basketball to focus on mental health

Veteran point guard Ricky Rubio is stepping away from basketball indefinitely as he focuses on improving his mental health, he announced on Saturday.

It's unclear how long Rubio will be out, but he won't be playing for the Spanish national team during the 2023 World Cup. While he has two years and approximately $12.5 million remaining on his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, it's possible he'll miss time during the 2023-24 NBA season too.

"I have decided to stop my professional activity to take care of my mental health. I want to thank all the support I have received from the [Spanish national] team to understand my decision," Rubio said in a statement.

"Today #family makes more sense than ever. Thank you. I would ask that my privacy be respected so that I can face these moments and be able to give more information when the time is right."

As ESPN's Brian Windhorst noted, Rubio "left the [Spanish national] team's training camp this week in Madrid and didn't play in Spain's first warmup game Friday night against Venezuela."

The 32-year-old is a 12-year NBA veteran who appeared in 33 games for the Cavs last season, averaging 5.2 points, 3.5 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 17.2 minutes per game. The year before, he was playing some of his best basketball — averaging 13.1 points, 6.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 1.7 threes and 1.4 steals — before he tore a knee ligament in the 34th game of the season and required surgery.

It remains to be seen when Rubio will return, but it's good to see that he's prioritizing his mental health and getting the support he needs during this difficult time.

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