NBA Rumor: Rodney Hood Injury

144 rumors in this storyline

More Rumors in this Storyline

Rodney Hood hoping to return at the start of next season

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.”

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.”

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.

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.

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.”

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.”

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.”

“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.”
More HoopsHype Rumors
May 15, 2021 | 5:15 pm EDT Update