Rodney Hood On Returning From Injury, Coming Back A Better Player And Having Fun With Rehab

As is often the case for players after suffering a serious injury, Trail Blazers forward Rodney Hood has kept a low profile for the last few months. After rupturing his left Achilles tendon in a loss to the Lakers at the Moda Center on December 6, the 6-8 forward out of Duke has mostly been out of the public eye, save for a few posting on social media. But nearly two months after undergoing surgery to repair his left Achilles, Hood has become more of a fixture at Trail Blazers games and practices as he continues his rehabilitation. He recently traveled with the team to Los Angeles for a game versus the Lakers, has started to attend home games and has joined fellow injured players for workouts at the team's practice facility in Tualatin. 

Prior to Sunday night's victory versus the Miami Heat the Moda Center, Hood discussed where he's at in the rehabilitation process, keeping a positive mindset, his daily workout regiment, one of the positives of the injury and his goal of coming back from injury as a better player. 

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 as much time away as you spend practicing and playing, I imagine one small positive of the injury is having the opportunity to spend more time at home.

Rodney Hood: That's the best part. This year, being on the road so much it felt like, getting a chance to be with the kids, be with my wife, be here in Portland, being able to think a lot. I think being able to be still has really been a positive for me. Obviously I wish I was out there playing, but I think I'll be a better player once I go back because the game is slowing down for me. I'm able to watch a little bit more and take things from it. I'm looking forward to it. I'm trying my best to be patient but it's been good.

Timelines aside, what are your hopes for the next three months? Four months? Going into the beginning of next season?

Rodney Hood: I don't really have a timeline, hasn't been discussed, but obviously I want -- I'm going to play next year. I've been healing fast so hopefully I'm ready by training camp. But things happen and things slow up and speed up, you just never know. But I really want to get back as soon as possible so I can help our goal toward a championship next year.

I imagine it's important to go into this process knowing that things can change and having setbacks is just a part of it rather than some kind of failure.

Rodney Hood: Yeah, it's very unpredictable, it's a long process. Some guys take seven months, some guys take a year, some take more than that. You got to focus on your body, see what makes you feel right. And once I'm right, I'm gonna get out there and play and try my best. I know it's going to be a process to find myself again and everything like that, but I'm ready for it. I'm mentally ready for it. I've been doing everything possible to make sure I'm taking the right steps. It's becoming fun to me. I'm not looking at it like it's a grueling process, it's: What can you get out of it? It's not just rehabbing and being mad at the world, it's about what can you learn from it, what can you take from this type of situation and make it better for you going forward.