Rodney Hood

A healthy Zach Collins says, 'We know we have a shot to win a title'

A healthy Zach Collins says, 'We know we have a shot to win a title'

The Trail Blazers obviously face an uphill battle in Orlando when the NBA returns to play in a month.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of confidence on a team that once thought, prior to injuries, it was going to be in the race for a championship.

Injuries heal, though, and the Trail Blazers’ confidence is high. One of those injured players, Zach Collins, figures to reclaim his starting power-forward spot in Orlando, fully healed from a shoulder injury during the season’s third game.

And he says his squad is supremely confident.

“We know we have a shot to win a title, regardless of seeding,” Collins said Thursday during a Thursday online conversation with media. “We’re confident, man.

“The fact that we have had a very trying -- not me, I wasn’t playing through it -- our team has had a very tough year, as far as injuries, and wins and losses.

“The fact that we still have a chance, I think everybody is super excited. Along with that, me and Nurk coming back is going to be huge.”

Certainly it will be very important. 

But keep in mind, the road just to get into the 16-team playoff field is going to be a rough one.

The Trail Blazers will need to keep pace with Memphis, while fighting off the New Orleans Pelicans. Portland has six plus-.500 teams on its eight-game seeding schedule and the Pels have just two.

But if the Blazers can stay within four games of Memphis and edge out New Orleans, they will earn the right to face the Grizzlies in a play-in series.

Portland would then have to beat Memphis twice in a row while the Grizzlies would need just one win over the Trail Blazers.

Keep in mind, this is all in Orlando, where there will be no homecourt, Moda Center, advantage.

And even if that is accomplished, all it likely earns Portland is a best-of-seven, first-round playoff series against LeBron James and his Los Angeles Lakers.

And everyone knows how difficult the Western Conference playoffs can be, even if the Lakers could somehow be vanquished.

“I wish Rodney (Hood) could be out there with us, that would make us even more dangerous, obviously,” Collins said. “But the team we have now, the guys who had to step up and play big minutes this year, they just got so much experience and got so much better.

“And now we’re going to come back as close to full strength as possible without Rodney. We’re just super confident.

“Honestly.”

Rodney Hood is dunking on more than his rehab  

Rodney Hood is dunking on more than his rehab  

We’ve seen Rodney Hood throw down some pretty nasty dunks as a Trail Blazer. 

But perhaps his best dunk yet came on Wednesday, when the Trail Blazers small forward dunked in practice for the first time (at least on video) since suffering a torn Achilles in December. 

In an 11-second clip shared by the Trail Blazers, Hoodie goes up for the dunk, hangs on the rim, and then comes down, turns around with a huge grin, and raises his hands to the roof while his teammates and training staff applaud him. 

Hood’s progression garnered praise from CJ McCollum and Gary Trent Jr. on Twitter. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon]

There are few things that make us happier than seeing Hoodie back on the hardwood and dunking. 

Six months after he was carried off the court with a ruptured Achilles, Hood returned to the practice facility on June 11, then again on June 23. Trail Blazers big Jusuf Nurkic posted a speculative tweet with the message, “Are Hoodieeee playing in Orlando?” 

Unfortunately, the Portland veteran wing won’t be ready to return to the floor when the Trail Blazers head to the Orlando bubble to resume the NBA season. His target date is expected to be September. 

For now, Hoodie is focused on small victories and dunking again is certainly something worth celebrating.  

[RELATED: Rodney Hood uses down time in rehab to finish his degree at Duke]

Will any Trail Blazers take advantage of NBA's new social justice policy?

Will any Trail Blazers take advantage of NBA's new social justice policy?

The NBA plans to resume the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Florida at the end of July but not without some concerns from the players.

Besides the coronavirus pandemic that shut down the season to begin with reaching new heights, especially in Florida, some players are concerned that the resumption of the NBA season will serve as a distraction away from the Black Lives Matter movement against systemic racism of black people and police brutality. 

Then Saturday, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the NBA and NBAPA "are planning to allow players to replace the last name on their jerseys with statement[s] on social justice" with initial details of the plan being sent to players that evening.

As of now, the only Trail Blazer that has opted out of the bubble is starting small forward Trevor Ariza who will sit out the remainder of the season to instead commit to a one-month visitation window with his young son.

[RELATED]: Trevor Ariza will not join the Trail Blazers when NBA restarts-- here's why

That leaves the question of if any Trail Blazers plan to take advantage of this new policy? 

Damian Lillard was seen protesting in Portland with Black Lives Matter on June 4th. Later that week, Lillard joined Sportscenter and discussed committing to the bubble during the nationwide protests.

"As far as the racial injustice, I think that's where a lot of the struggle is for a lot of athletes," Lillard said. "I think our league is made up of so many African American players. And a lot of our hearts are with our people; our minds are with our people. And we feel like we should be a part of that fight. And that's where the struggle is; I think that's where you're hearing a lot of guys kinda coming out, saying maybe we should be focused on that instead of worrying about going back in and jumping into the season."

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon]

But Lillard also sees the benefits of returning to the court which is why he's willing to take the risk of going to Orlando. 

"I can only speak for myself -- but I think it goes for other guys as well -- we are the financial support for our families and for a lot of our community. We bring a lot of that financial responsibility to support black businesses in black communities. So it makes a lot of sense for us [to return], from that standpoint."

Lillard wasn't the only one to join protests. Nassir Little, Rodney Hood, Gary Trent Jr. and Anfernee Simons all also protested in the Portland area.

[RELATED]: Nassir Little, Rodney Hood, Gary Trent, Jr. attend Black Lives Matter protest in Portland

Hoodie and Little along with hundreds of other protestors were chanting “Say her name” referencing to Breonna Taylor who was wrongfully shot multiple times and killed in a police raid of her home two months ago.

Perhaps one of them would put her name on their jersey, which appears to be the plan of Las Vega Aces small forward Angel McCoughtry when the WNBA starts next month, per her Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

I will be playing this upcoming @wnba and I am looking forward to continue to fight social injustice issues while playing and supporting front line workers. ⠀ ⠀ I am currently working with the @lvaces and @wnba to use our voices, our uniforms, and our sport to continue to impact and create real change. I am creating a petition (LINK IN BIO) to allow players the ability to put the FIRST & LAST NAME of HUMAN BEINGS that who have been injured or KILLED in incidents involving POLICE BRUTALITY! Even Front line workers during the pandemic The goal is also to create a relationship with the families of who’s name the athlete has chosen. This is a way to use our platform to be a helping hand during these trying times. Silence is an ally for EVIL and when sports resume WE WILL NOT BE SILENT. ⠀ ⠀ #SayTheirNames ⠀ #blacklivesmatter ⠀ #thetimeisnow

A post shared by Angel McCoughtry #35 (@mccoughtry) on

"I am currently working with the @lvaces and @wnba to use our voices, our uniforms, and our sport to continue to impact and create real change," wrote the first overall pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft. "I am creating a petition (LINK IN BIO) to allow players the ability to put the FIRST & LAST NAME of HUMAN BEINGS that who have been injured or KILLED in incidents involving POLICE BRUTALITY! Even Front line workers during the pandemic

"The goal is also to create a relationship with the families of who’s name the athlete has chosen. This is a way to use our platform to be a helping hand during these trying times.
Silence is an ally for EVIL and when sports resume WE WILL NOT BE SILENT."

We'll have to wait and see if any Blazers will follow her lead, but the league will let them do so if any of them so desire. 

Rodney Hood back in the gym… AGAIN!

Rodney Hood back in the gym… AGAIN!

There are a lot things that give us great joy in Rip City, but one of them that has been extra joyful lately is the progression of Rodney Hood’s recovery.

The Trail Blazers forward tore his Achilles tendon back on December 6, 2019 against the Los Angeles Lakers. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this injury, it is a long recovery process of inflammation, proliferation and remodeling.

Hoodie has been missed greatly on the court.

[Listen to the Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon and special guest Blazers TV analyst Lamar Hurd].

[RELATED]: Rodney Hood uses down time in rehab to finish his degree at Duke

Six months after his injury, however, Hoodie has returned to the hardwood.

On June 11, Hood was seen ‘back in the kitchen’ putting up shots at Portland’s practice facility.

And again on June 23, Hoodie back on the hardwood.

Although we won’t see Hood suiting up for the Trail Blazers as the team is beginning to get back in the gym and head for Orlando, Florida in a few weeks, it is still so great to see him back on the court. 

On another healthy note, big men Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins will return to the court once play resumes.

Players have until June 24 to let their teams know if they will be traveling with the team to Orlando. Trevor Ariza, so far, is the only Trail Blazer who has decided not to travel to Orlando.

Rodney Hood uses down time in rehab to finish his degree at Duke

Rodney Hood uses down time in rehab to finish his degree at Duke

December 6th, 2019 is a night Rodney Hood would like to forget.

It was that night that Hood went up for a rebound against the Los Angeles Lakers but ended up in a heap on the floor. A victim of a ruptured Achilles tendon. 

Out for the remainder of the reason, Hood began to focus on rehab and a return for the start of the 2020-21 season. 

However, basketball wasn't the only thing on his mind: Hood also turned his attention to his education. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin' Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.]

Hood started his collegiate career at Mississippi State, before transferring to Duke after his freshman season. He sat out one year due to NCAA transfer rules, and played his redshirt sophomore season at Duke before declaring for the NBA draft. 

His college career was over, but his degree was yet to be completed. 

In the middle of rehab and with plenty of time on his hand, Hood decided it was time to finish what he started at Duke.

According to an interview with ESPN, Hood was just eight credits shy of completing his degree when he left to head to the NBA, and it was his wife Richa that urged him to return to school.

"When he got injured and tore his Achilles, that's when I really was like, 'Yeah, OK. You really need to make sure you try to focus on getting your degree, especially during this downtime...This was a perfect opportunity to earn some credits and strive to get it." - Hood's wife Richa in an interview with ESPN. 

You never know what life holds after basketball. With a potentially career-altering injury, a global pandemic, and racial tensions at a boiling point, it's now more important than ever for athletes to set themselves up for life without basketball.

"I've just got a real thirst for knowledge now, especially seeing how the world is, seeing how the disparity is with African American men, and I want to do something special," Hood told ESPN. "And getting a degree from Duke is special, especially coming from where I come from."

"An NBA player's life is a dog's life, as far as how long it is," said Mike Krzyzewski, Hood's basketball coach at Duke. "There's a lot of life ahead of you -- and that transition from whenever you stop playing to whatever that life would be I would think would be a lot easier to navigate with a college degree."

Completing his degree is not only important for Hood, but it's a source of inspiration for many people out there. It's living proof that it's never too late to set out and accomplish your goal. 

Listen to and Subscribe to “Sports Uncovered” wherever you listen to podcasts.

 

Rodney Hood back on the court for first time since Achilles injury

Rodney Hood back on the court for first time since Achilles injury

When the NBA returns next month, the Portland Trail Blazers will have a few injured bodies back on the court. 

Jusuf Nurkic, who broke his leg in March of last season, will be back in action for the first time in more than a year. 

Zach Collins, who hasn't played since he suffered a dislocated shoulder on October 27th, will be back as well. 

Portland will finally be near full strength, but one piece will still be missing: Rodney Hood.

[Listen to the latest Talkin' Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.]

Hood tore his Achilles tendon on December 6th against the Lakers and had season-ending surgery on December 11th

The road back for Hood has been, and will continue to be, a long one. But on Thursday night he posted a video on his Instagram story that had all of Rip City jumping for joy.

Captioned, "Back in the kitchen," Hood posted a short clip of him getting shots up at the Trail Blazers practice facility.

Hood showed off some lateral quickness and a smooth shooting stroke, but most importantly, he was moving without impingement.

It was the first time we had seen Hood on the court doing basketball drills since he suffered the injury. 

In an interview back in April, Hood said the goal was to be back on the court by June. He accomplished that goal. 

He still has a long way to go to get back in game shape and be ready to hit the court for five-on-five action, but the video showed that his rehab is going very well. 

Teammate Jusuf Nurkic was happy to see it.

But Nurkic wasn't the only one. Rip City was ecstatic:

 

Nassir Little, Rodney Hood, Gary Trent, Jr. attend Black Lives Matter protest in Portland

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Rodney Hood Instagram

Nassir Little, Rodney Hood, Gary Trent, Jr. attend Black Lives Matter protest in Portland

With a nationwide outcry against systemic racial injustice in the USA, police brutality and the death of George Floyd, NBA players across the nation have taken action on social media and been seen demonstrating in protests around the country.

The Portland Trail Blazers continue to make a stand in the city of Portland.

First, Damian Lillard was seen peacefully protesting in southeast Portland, Oregon on Thursday evening.

Now, Rodney Hood and Nassir Little were spotted on Friday night 

Hoodie and Little along with hundreds of other protestors were chanting “Say her name” referencing to Breonna Taylor who was wrongfully shot multiple times and killed in a police raid of her home two months ago.

Gary Trent Jr. was also among tons of protestors on Friday night walking along the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland.

Anfernee Simons walked with protestors from Revolution Hall in southeast Portland to the waterfront on Friday night.

Rodney Hood looking strong just five months after suffering torn Achilles tendon

Rodney Hood looking strong just five months after suffering torn Achilles tendon

It's been just over five months since the Trail Blazers announced starting small forward Rodney Hood had suffered a torn left Achilles tendon during the Blazers-Lakers game in early December. 

Fast-forward to present day and Hood is posting about his progress.

The Trail Blazers veteran wing shared a video of his rehabilitation session on his Instagram.

Hoodie is looking good!  

The injury came in the first quarter of the Dec. 6 home game when Hood grabbed a defensive rebound and then planted his left foot and immediately fell to the floor. 

Dec. 11, the Trail Blazers announced Hood had undergone successful surgery to repair his ruptured left Achilles tendon.

Hood, along with Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins had been allowed in the team’s practice facility during their rehab even when the league had shut down all facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since Friday, all players, who are still currently living in the Portland area, have been permitted to use the Trail Blazers' facility for individual workouts.

Hood has described his rehab process as “coming along nicely,” but admitted the first few days after surgery were very trying.

During the NBA hiatus, Hood explained that his road to recovery has seemed quick, but at the same time it has also seemed extremely longer than just the few months of rehab.

I’ve been making a lot of progress even with everything going on. I feel great. I feel great in the spot that I’m in. I just passed, I think, four months post surgery, so I’m moving along well…. I’m jumping a little bit in the pool, moving around a little bit, so I’m getting there. I’m working myself to being weight-bearing to where I can do more explosive things, but I’m moving along fine, trying to be patient with it, but it’s been good so far…

The process has been so long. I looked up and it’s only been four months. It’s like time is going by really, really slow, but fast at the same time. -- Rodney Hood said on April 14th  

Hood also mentioned that he is thankful for the support from his teammates, especially Jusuf Nurkic.

Nurk shared his encouragement for Hood on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier this week, the Bosnian Beast had posted a photo of him putting in work in the weight room with the Trail Blazers training staff wearing protective masks, saying, “Life can always change, you have to adjust.”

As the injured Trail Blazers continue to rehab and the healthy players continue to adjust during this pandemic, one thing hasn’t changed:

The support from teammates on this current Trail Blazers squad is always there.

It's nice to see that team connection. 

It's even better to see Hood getting up and down on the half exercise ball. 

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Fry and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon along with special guest former Portland Trail Blazer Steve Blake.

Anfernee Simons Q&A: "Seattle should have a team again"

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USA Today Images

Anfernee Simons Q&A: "Seattle should have a team again"

Tuesday night was a perfect night for a question and answer session with Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons.

The No. 24 overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft took to his Instagram to field questions from fans on his IG story.

Among some of his favorite things he mentioned were:

  • Call of Duty (favorite video game)
  • El Gaucho (favorite spot in PDX)
  • Popeyes and Chick-fil-a (He couldn’t choose between the two)

Simons also admitted that the Red Classic Jerseys are his fav Trail Blazers unis.

If he could play any other sport besides basketball it would be football.

Not only was this Q & A informative in regards to Simons' favorite things, it was also fun to see which of his teammates and former teammates chimed in to ask a question.

Jaylen Hoard wondered how Ant got his bounce?

So naturally, Simons gave all the credit to Hoard.

While, Rodney Hood was curious who the young fella compares his game to right now.

We’ll have to wait on that answer for another day.

Former teammate Maurice Harkless got in on the action as well.

Harkless asked simply, “you miss me?”

Of course it was all love from Simons.

But, even though he is just 20-years-old, Simons stills recognizes how much an I-5 rivalry is truly missed.

The Trail Blazers backup guard is all for an NBA team returning to Seattle.

Agreed, Simons. Agreed. 

Rodney Hood's painfully long, yet quick rehab from Achilles tear

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USA Today Images

Rodney Hood's painfully long, yet quick rehab from Achilles tear

Dec. 11, 2019.

A lot has happened since then.

A lot has happened in the Trail Blazers world and in the world in general.

But for Trail Blazers veteran wing Rodney Hood, that date was the start of his new world.

The Portland Trail Blazers announced on Dec. 11, that Hood had undergone successful surgery to repair his ruptured left Achilles tendon.

The surgery was performed at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute.

It was on December 6th during the Blazers' loss to the Lakers when Hood suffered the injury at the 3:27 mark of the first quarter

The past four months for Hood have been long, but at the same time, it’s as if time is moving fast for the six-year veteran.

“I’ve been making a lot of progress even with everything going on,” Hood said. “I feel great. I feel great in the spot that I’m in. I just passed, I think, four months post surgery, so I’m moving along well…. I’m jumping a little bit in the pool, moving around a little bit, so I’m getting there. I’m working myself to being weight-bearing to where I can do more explosive things, but I’m moving along fine, trying to be patient with it, but it’s been good so far.”

The timeline of his progress gets a bit fuzzy for Hood with the four months feeling more like a year.

“I get the timeline mixed up all the time. It seems like it’s been like a year ago since I got hurt,” Hood said. “The process has been so long. I looked up and it’s only been four months. It’s like time is going by really, really slow, but fast at the same time.”

Hood stayed in Los Angeles for ten days after the surgery. When he got back up to Portland, the cast remained on his left foot for about two to three weeks before having to wear a boot while using crutches for another two or three weeks. 

After reaching the milestone of walking with just the boot, Hood’s next milestone of walking with no boot got pushed back a few weeks. He still had pain in his foot when walking with no boot, so in order to not have any other setbacks, Hood was in the walking boot for a couple more weeks than expected.

“Everything is like a three or four week period.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic had the sports world come to a complete stop, Hood was going to the Trail Blazers’ practice facility six times a week for rehab. But now since the NBA suspended play, and then a few days later shutdown all the teams’ training facility, Hood is allowed to use the practice facility for his rehab three days a week.

Hood along with Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic are the only ones allowed to enter the practice facility in order to ensure they are keeping up with their rehab and treatment. 

“We do take our temperature every time we go into the building,” Hood added. 

Both Director of Player Health and Performance Jesse Elis and Physical Therapist/Sports Scientist Logan Sullivan have been working with Hood individually while at the practice facility either in the weight room or training room.

Hood starts his rehab days at 8:00am, which he said consists of “Weight lifting, working on my Achilles… On Wednesdays we usually do the pool… Other days we do a bunch of upper body and lower body and make sure I’m staying in shape as well as working on my Achilles.

Be sure to check out this week’s Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with former Portland Trail Blazer Travis Outlaw:

 

In 21 games played, Hood averaged 11.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 29.5 minutes per game.

He was having one of the best seasons of his career. 

His shooting percentage (50.6%), along with his three-point shooting percentage (49.3%) and rebounding average were all career highs. 

After Hood accomplished his goal of not needing to wear the boot on his left foot, he had it in his mind that he would be back to some type of basketball activity in mid-June and this fall to be playing ball again.

I started aiming for the beginning of training camp that was supposed to be like September or whenever next year’s training camp was going to be, but now with the talks of pushing next season back… It’s kind of messing with my mind a little bit. I want to continue to try to set small goals for myself, like I want to shoot to try to be on the court by mid-June so I’m able to workout and stuff. So, that’s still my goal regardless of what happens with the season. -- Trail Blazers veteran wing Rodney Hood 

But all in all, the NBA suspension hasn’t changed Hood’s way of life too much. He was already staying home more often while rehabbing his injury.

Hood preached that he knows how important it is to keep his body right and not try and push it especially while he is still at the early stages of his rehab.

“I miss the game like crazy. At home I’m always dribbling a basketball, watching basketball, I’m very motivated to get back to being out there on the court…

As bad as I want to, I want to skip steps, I want to be on the court right now, but as long as I continue to do what I gotta do, I want to be on the court and doing stuff by June.”