Hood said his rehab is on track, and he hopes to be fully healthy by the start of the 2020-21 NBA season. He has a player option for year two of a two-year, $16 million contact he signed with the Blazers prior to the start of the current season. “I feel good,” Hood said. “I’m almost nine months in, and I’ll be ready to go for next season. I feel good about my progress so far.”
On Dec. 6, 2019, Hood tore his right Achilles tendon during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers. While trying to rehab it, the coronavirus forced the NBA to postpone its season for several months before eventually resuming it in Orlando, Florida. It’s been a lot to watch unfold, and Hood said it’s difficult to wrap his mind around something forcing the NBA to pause. “It’s been crazy,” Hood said. “It’s a unique time, something I know I haven’t been through in my life, and I’m pretty sure most people can say the same. I’m just trying to stay safe and stay healthy. That’s the main priority, and I think people are handling it the right way. People are trying their best to (social distance) and help each other out, and that’s what it’s all about.”
As he continues with his rehab, Hood will also keep working toward finishing his degree at Duke, where he played in college after he transferred there from Mississippi State. The process toward completing his degree began after Hood suffered the injury, and he said it’s important to him to graduate from college after leaving school early to enter the NBA Draft in 2014. “Just to be able to take online classes during the pandemic and get closer to my goal, which is to graduate, I know that means a lot to me and my family,” Hood said. “I just want to keep pursuing that and stress that education is important.”
Perhaps the most difficult injury to return and recover from is a ruptured achilles, but not only has Rodney Hood put in the work off the court, he is also putting a tremendous amount of work on the court. The Portland Trail Blazers tweeted a video of the former Duke basketball player rising up to the rim, albeit in a controlled and cautious way as he works his way back to the court.
While lying on the court in pain after tearing his left Achilles tendon on Dec. 6, Rodney Hood began to contemplate his basketball future. "The initial thought is like, 'Damn. Most guys used to retire after the Achilles injury,'" the Portland Trail Blazers swingman told ESPN this month. "Nobody really but Dominique Wilkins has come back to be the same person as he used to be or better; but now, more and more guys come back and they're healthy."
That small group has turned into something of a basketball fraternity, as players who've never been teammates find themselves connected by a shared experience. "I know guys look at me for advice," Hood said. "I reach out to Kevin Durant or Wesley Matthews, DeMarcus Cousins ... the guys who have been through it, and I just get confident more and more every day."
Cousins, who was on the Los Angeles Lakers bench when Hood got hurt, reached out to offer his support. "I gave him a few days and I just sent a message," Cousins said. "I know how tough those times are and your emotions are all over the place, but I just sent him a little message of saying basically I'm praying for him, I'm thinking about him, he's on my heart, but when it comes to this journey, go through your dog days, it's OK."
Matthews expressed similar sentiments. "When Rodney reached out to me, I took that as a compliment that the hard work that I put in to coming back on the court had paid off with my play and health," said Matthews, whose surgery was performed by the same doctor who operated on Hood and Cousins. "It is an extremely tough injury, both mind and body. Kobe Bryant reached out to me after I tore mine, and it was unbelievable, so I felt like I had a chance to not only pass my wisdoms, but his, as well, through what I've learned."
Durant will text from time to time, asking, "Hey man. How are you doing? How is your mental [health] doing? Where are you in your rehab?" Durant tore his right Achilles in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. He has missed the entire 2019-20 season so far and will not play even when the Brooklyn Nets resume their season in Orlando, Florida, in July. Hood also will remain out for the remainder of this campaign, even with the Blazers set to compete for a playoff spot.
Faced with an uncertain future due to the combination of his serious injury and the league's shutdown, Hood, 27, turned back to his past: Duke University. The school where he played his final college season before entering the NBA draft in 2014 had begun offering online classes during the pandemic. Hood, who was eight credits shy of earning his degree when he left Duke, was urged to reenroll by his wife, Richa, who also played basketball at Duke before earning her degree in 2014.
So in general, how is the process of getting back on the court going thus far? Rodney Hood: Everything's been going good, it's been going smooth. I'm about seven weeks post-surgery and I'm moving along nicely. I'm in two shoes, doing weight-bearing things, lifting weights and stuff like that. I'm ahead of schedule right now and I'm healing up fast, so we'll see where that takes me. But I'm just taking it day-by-day.
Those first days after the injury must be the most difficult part to get through. Rodney Hood: Yeah, there's a lot of things that go through your mind at that time. I was very discouraged at first but I had a lot of positive people around me, a lot of people encouraging me and just reiterated that it was going to be a tough process but there's a lot of people that's with me. Once I got out of surgery, I just had a positive mindset. I've had a positive mindset every single day working towards getting back. That's my only thought that's going through my mind, no negative thoughts on my mind, just trying to get back. It's been good so far.
What is a day like for you right now? Is it a full day of rehab? Rodney Hood: I have time off. The first month, I couldn't do anything, I was just laying in bed. Now, I get up around seven, I come in and workout at eight. Some days I do the pool, some days I lift weights, do upper and lower body, getting that strength back. My day is not done at 10 -- I finish that work around 10. Get some breakfast or something like that and then I do a lot of things at home trying to get strength back into my Achilles. I do it every single day. Six days-a-week rehabbing, been around Zach (Collins) which can make the process a little more terrifying, but it's been good so far.
With the boot off, Hood will ramp up his activities. He doesn’t have a definitive timeline for when he’ll play again, but he’s optimistic he’s headed in the right direction. “I’ll continue to build strength with it, within my Achilles, and keep taking steps and passing my tests and checklists that I got,” he said. “I should be healing pretty fast, barring no setbacks.”
He said he talked with Kevin Durant, Joe Johnson and Wesley Matthews about the rehab process and picked their brains for tips on recovery and staying positive during an arduous rehab cycle. “Just to learn from the process,” Hood said of the advice he received. “Don’t think it’s going to be easy. It’s going to be a tough grind, but just learn about yourself throughout it. Don’t waste this time just sitting around, just learn about yourself. So I been doing that. I been doing a lot of reading, watching a lot of basketball, watching a lot of shows. So it’s been good. I’m spending a lot of time with my family. That’s been the best part about it.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Trail Blazers have been granted a $2.86M injury exception for Rodney Hood, league source tells ESPN.
The DPE will be worth $2.859 million and must be used by March 10 or it will go away. It can be used to sign a player on a one-year contract or expiring contract that fits into that slot. It cannot be aggregated with another player. But don't expect Portland to use it right way. The team already has the highest payroll of any team in the league and faces huge tax penalties by increasing its payroll.
They were not ha-ha-funny laughs. And they were not playful guffaws. Their laughs were more incredulous, those types of chuckles that come with a shake of the head and take the place of the words “can you believe this?” “We’ve been getting hit from every angle possible,” Kent Bazemore said. “Preseason on the road, 13 of the first 18 on the road, injuries. … I mean, it’s been a whirlwind.”
Even though he stands to gain from Hood’s injury — Hezonja will likely be one of the small forwards coach Terry Stotts turns to — Hezonja was consumed with the circumstances of Friday’s events. “I don’t even want to make a comment, that’s how bad I feel,” Hezonja said. “I mean, that’s Hoodie. From Day 1, he and I really bonded. You just don’t have teammates like that. He’s like a really outstanding person, so this really hurts me.”
Jason Quick: Feel so bad for Rodney Hood. Was having a great season and I’ve never seen him happier and more talkative inside the locker room. He was finally in his comfort zone. Then this: a torn Achilles.
Jay Allen: Terry Stotts says @Rodney Hood (back spasms) is feeling better today. Status for tomorrow night's game at Sacramento TBD. #RipCity @RipCityRadio620
Jason Quick: Stotts says Rodney Hood is out, Hassan Whiteside will play and Skal Labissiere is being evaluated for tonight’s game vs. Atlanta
Hood needed the ice because he banged knees with Philadelphia guard Ben Simmons with around 4:33 left in the game. When he fell to the court, the Blazers’ wing admitted he was scared. He dug his face into his forearm and lay motionless. “I couldn’t feel nothing,” Hood said “My whole knee felt swollen. I wasn’t thinking the worst — like, I didn’t think it was the end of my season — but I just wanted to see if I could put pressure on it.”
Back on the examining table inside the trainer’s room, team doctors poked, pushed and extended the knee. They determined there was no structural damage, and wrapped the knee in ice. “Hopefully, just knee to knee,” Hood said. “A bruise. And hopefully the swelling goes down. I think I will be fine … I don’t think nothing weird is going on.”
Rodney Hood’s left knee is sore and it will remain what he calls an “ongoing” issue throughout what’s left of the 2019 NBA playoffs. But as the Portland Trail Blazers gathered for a practice Wednesday in preparation for Game 2 of their best-of-seven series against the Golden State Warriors, Hood pledged to continue to play.
“It’s tough,” he said before a workout at UCSF Mission Bay. “But at this point, it’s lay everything on the line. If I’m a liability out there on either end, I think I’ll be doing a disservice to my team and I think I wouldn’t play. But I’ve just got to battle though it. Everybody is banged up at this point on both teams. Enes (Kanter) has been fighting his shoulder thing since the first round. If I can go out there and jog around and do whatever I can to help, I’m going to be out there.”
“I was starting to go to the basket, pulled the ball back and my feet just came out from under me,” Hood said. “But it was fine, I was able to keep playing. So I’ll be fine.” He said he’s accepted the fact that his knee won’t be pain-free anytime soon, but he said he hoped it wouldn’t keep him out of any games. The Blazers did not include Hood on their injury report for Game 2, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Oracle Arena.
Brian Windhorst: Rodney Hood (knee bone bruise) is out warming up prior to Game 1. Listed as questionable
After the game, Hood told reporters that he's "in a lot of pain right now." "We'll see how it feels tomorrow, and the next day," said Hood, who had six points in 20 minutes before being helped into the locker room. "Just day-by-day, but I don't have a timetable right now."
Joe Freeman: Rodney Hood is down on the Pepsi Center court holding his left knee. Doesn't look good ...
Michael Singer: Hood is walking off gingerly and headed to the locker room. Torrey Craig caught him with a backscreen.
Winslow now has missed the past eight games, including Saturday in New York, with a bruised left thigh. McGruder has missed the past seven with a sore left knee. "As much treatment, work as they can get, around the clock, that's their focus right now," Spoelstra said of the three players left behind.
Jason Quick: Blazers updated injuries for tonight at New Orleans: Rodney Hood (groin) is available, Seth Curry (illness) is probable and Maurice Harkless (left knee) is out.
Jason Quick: From Blazers: Rodney Hood is probable for New Orleans but Seth Curry (sick) and Maurice Harkless (left knee) are questionable
Joe Vardon: Hey, Cavs fans. Rodney Hood told me he will play tonight against the Rockets. Limited minutes.
Chris Fedor: The NBA’s 5:30 injury report lists #Cavs Rodney Hood as OUT for Sunday against Chicago with Achilles soreness.
Marla Ridenour: Rodney Hood being held out in the second half with a sore left Achilles. #Cavs say it's for precautionary reasons.
Dave McMenamin: Larry Drew says that Tristan Thompson, Rodney Hood and Larry Nance Jr. are all back on a minute restriction. Cleveland will keep its recent starting lineup of Calderon, Hill, James, Green and Love, however.
Dave McMenamin: Larry Drew says that Tristan Thompson and Rodney Hood are both out tonight. The Cavs are starting Jose Calderon, George Hill, LeBron James, Jeff Green and Kevin Love.
Jason Lloyd: Incidentally, Rodney Hood believes he'll "probably" be ready to play Thursday at Portland
Joe Vardon: The Cavs have two open roster spots. They are checking on the severity of injuries to Rodney Hood (back) and Cedi Osman (hip/groin) to see if they need to hit the FA market. Cedi said he felt a ‘pop’ in his groin
Tony Jones: Jazz shooting guard Rodney Hood will be on a minutes restriction tonight. For the fantasy guys, I asked how many. Quin Snyder wouldn't say
Andy Larsen: Rodney Hood is out for tomorrow's game against Phoenix. Will be his 6th missed game due to lower leg contusion.
Eric Woodyard: Rodney Hood is questionable again for tomorrow’s game in Detroit with a lower leg contusion. He has missed the last 2 games.
Eric Woodyard: I have a clarification about Rodney Hood’s injury. Although he thought it was an Achilles soreness, team doctors have clarified again that it was in fact tendon soreness in his ankle that sidelined him for 7 games.
Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson got a little more involved. Both players participated in a non-contact session Monday, boosting hope that they’ll be able to return for the upcoming road trip. The Tribune has learned that Hood is targeting a comeback on Wednesday against the Chicago Bulls. Neither coach Quin Snyder nor anyone else got that specific, but it was a big moment for both to be practicing.
Raul Neto did not practice after leaving the Milwaukee game and entering the team’s concussion protocol. The Jazz haven’t said whether any of the three — Hood, Johnson or Neto — will be available for Wednesday’s game.
Tony Jones: Jazz guard Rodney Hood is expected to miss the Milwaukee game, according to Tribune sources. He is, however, progressing towards a return
Tony Jones: Official diagnosis on Hood: he'll be ready when he's ready, Quin Snyder said. Snyder did say he thinks that will be sooner than later
April 15, 2021 | 7:26 pm EDT Update
Anthony Slater: Steve Kerr: “Adding size just for the sake of adding size doesn’t accomplish anything. But if you can add a good player who can help you win a game, then it matters.” Kerr said Warriors will lean into the smaller, quicker identity “regardless” the rest of the season. pic.twitter.com/M04ebKIDtN
Ira Winderman: Heat injury report for Friday at Minnesota: Victor Oladipo (knee soreness) out. Andre Iguodala (hip soreness) questionable. Gabe Vincent (knee soreness) probable.