Hood's Rehab Continues On Schedule Despite Coronavirus

by Casey Holdahl
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While much of the discussion in NBA circles since the suspension of the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic has revolved around when basketball might resume, Trail Blazers guard/forward Rodney Hood hasn't had cause to spend much time pondering that specific question. After all, Hood's season ended when he suffered a ruptured left Achilles tendon back in early December, so whether the 2019-20 season continues on in some fashion or not, it doesn't change much for the 6-8 swingman, other than that it deprives him, like so many others, of the joys of watching NBA basketball.

"For me, with the season being shut down, it doesn't really change too much for me," said Hood during a call with reporters Tuesday afternoon. "I miss the game like crazy -- at home I'm always dribbling a basketball, I'm always watching basketball, I've very motivated to get back to being out there on the court and stuff like that. But it hasn't really changed much for me, just going through this pandemic. I think the biggest thing is safety, and when that time comes for me to step back out there, I'll be more than excited."

But has the postponement of the NBA season, which has also resulted in access to team practice facilities, which house, amongst other things, team training and medical staff, being severely limited hindered Hood's ability to rehabilitate his ruptured Achilles? According to Hood, it hasn't been seamless, but it also hasn't significantly changed his ability to get treatment for his Achilles injury.

"I was going in before everything happened six days a week," said Hood. "Now, I can use the facility three days a week -- the NBA has allowed that... It's just one-on-one contact, we can't be in group settings or nothing like that, so usually when me and him are working together it's just us two in the weight room or the training room. We're getting a lot of work in. It's been very good, I've been making a lot of progress even with everything going on."

The NBA initially allowed teams to keep their practice facilities open after the season was postponed, albeit with increased social distancing efforts. Concerns over how even that level of activity might result the spread of COVID-19 resulted in access for healthy players being cut off. But after some cajoling from teams, the NBA agreed to let players like Hood who are rehabilitating serious injuries to receive treatment, though still in a limited fashion.

"I've been working out with Logan (Sullivan, team physical therapist) three days a week," said Hood. "It's just one-on-one contact, we can't be in group settings or nothing like that, so usually when me and him are working together it's just us two in the weight room or the training room. We're getting a lot of work in. It's been very good, I've been making a lot of progress even with everything going on."

However, even that progress will not result in Hood playing again this season, at least in the event that the NBA is able to continue the 2019-20 campaign. While it is likely that both Jusuf Nurkić, who was set to make his return from a broken left leg just days before the season was postponed, and Zach Collins, whose had been out since November after undergoing surgery to repair a left shoulder dislocation, would be available if/when NBA basketball returns, Hood's Achilles injury, and the 12-month timetable for return that comes along with it, negates any prospect of him picking up where he left off back in November.

"I won't put myself in that position," said Hood. "I need to give myself time to heal and to get back to myself. If it was just a regular injury, that's something different, but now I need to really make sure I get back right and not rush myself back. If I was fully healthy then that would be a possibility, but for right now, I just need to take my time."

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