Nate Robinson has built a career around conquering challenges inherent to being a 5-foot-9 guard in the NBA.
Bouncing back from knee surgery is just the latest obstacle he is poised to tackle.
Robinson said Thursday that his rehab program is "right on schedule" and he is hoping to be ready by the start of the 2014-15 season. He tore the ACL in his left knee on Jan. 29 and had surgery two days later.
"Not having basketball has humbled me," he said. "It’s made me even hungrier. I’m out here getting shots up and coming in still doing rehab and swimming and riding bikes 10 miles a day. It’s all going to pay off in the long run."
Robinson, who averaged 10.4 points and 2.5 assists in 44 games with Denver, is one of three Nuggets recovering from ACL surgery. Danilo Gallinari and J.J. Hickson also are in the midst of rehabilitation programs overseen by strength and conditioning coach Steve Hess and athletic trainer Dan Shimensky.
“We’re all pushing each other,” Robinson said. “I’m trying to catch up with Gallo; J.J. is trying to catch up with me. It’s not cool we had three different guys with bad injuries, but it’s cool we all share the same characteristics of coming back mentally strong and physically strong to be ready by the season to get this team where it needs to be.”
Robinson said he is drawing additional inspiration from Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who returned to the football field less than 10 months after ACL surgery in 2012.
“He set the bar super-high,” Robinson said. “If he can do it, I know I can do it.”
Robinson said he would like to eventually write a book about other athletes and their personal experiences dealing with the challenges of coming back from knee surgery.
“I want to interview Gallo, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Peterson – all the guys that messed up their ACL,” he said. “I want to hear the testimonials of triumph and showing the world you don’t give up after a knee injury. You keep going and make the best of it.”