Now that Ricky Rubio has made his season debut, will Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman and his staff be able to stick to a specific plan for his playing time?

Wolves trainer Gregg Farnam and the team's medical personnel want to limit Rubio to 18 minutes in the early phase of his return from a major knee injury and rest him in the second of back-to-back games.

If Rubio plays Monday night, Dec. 17, against Orlando at Amway Center, the rehabilitation plan calls for him to sit out Tuesday night at Miami.

During the Wolves' win over Dallas on Saturday night, Rubio tried to persuade Adelman and Farnam to let him play during the overtime, but that would have put him over his 18-minute allotment.

"We're still going to be very diligent with this and see how he reacts," Adelman said. "He's had normal soreness like in training camp, but he's had no setbacks and nothing with his knee, which is a positive sign. We still have to watch him. We can't throw him out there and play him 30 minutes."

Here's something of a dilemma for the Wolves: If Rubio plays well Monday night and has no problems with his surgically repaired left knee, will the team be tempted to let him play Tuesday against the defending NBA champions?

The Wolves (12-9) did not play at Miami last season because of the lockout-shortened schedule, and Tuesday's game represents the Wolves' only regular-season appearance in Miami this season.