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Rodney Hood leaning on others with same injury

The Trail Blazers wing is part of the “torn-Achilles club” that leans on each other for support

Miami Heat v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers forward Rodney Hood — who tore his Achilles tendon on Dec. 6 — recently talked with ESPN’s Eric Woodyard about how the recovery process for Hood has changed during the pandemic.

Hood said that there has been a fraternity of other players who have experienced the same injury supporting each other throughout their rehabs, including Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, and even former Blazer Wesley Matthews.

“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.”

Matthews, who tore his Achilles in March 2015 while playing for Portland, was able to return to the court just seven and a half months after the injury. He’s been able to share his experience recovering from the injury with Hood and provide support.

“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.”

Along with staying connected to other players, Hood has ensured that his rehab process hasn’t slowed down too much, doing his daily workouts at the Blazers practice facility.

Hood’s rehab process, though, has been anything but average. Three months after he was hurt, the entire NBA shut down due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Blazers reopened their practice facility on May 8, and Hood is there faithfully each day from 7 to 8:30 a.m. Hood still hasn’t spent much time around teammates due to the league’s social distancing rules, though that could change if he is able to join the team when the season resumes at the Walt Disney World Resort.

“You’re sitting at home in a cast or a boot and it’s tough, because all you’ve got is negative thoughts going through your head,” said Hood, who hopes to be ready for the outset of training camp before the next campaign tips off.

“Once you start to move and run a little bit, the confidence comes back, and then it’s just a matter of time before you come back to be yourself. I’m determined to get back to myself and continue to play good basketball.”

Hood also discussed taking online classes at Duke, learning more about African American history, and more. You can read about it here.