Last Thursday after the Trail Blazes loss to the Pacers, Trail Blazers veteran wing Rodney Hood was out on the Moda Center court while his teammates were in the locker room showering and getting ready for postgame interviews.
But not Hood.
He was working on his game.
The 28-year-old had played just 10 minutes against Indiana.
And after going scoreless in that game, he and Trail Blazers assistant coach Jannero Pargo took to the court to simulate game-type shots.
Hood was backing down Pargo in the paint and hitting step backs while Pargo pressured him and always had a hand in his face.
Four days later, Hood was interested into the starting lineup for the injured CJ McCollum, who will be re-evaluated in one week after spraining his left foot in last Saturday’s game.
Hood was ready and made his presence felt early.
After not starting a game for the Trail Blazers since last Dec. after tearing his left Achilles on Dec. 6, 2019 at home against the Lakers, Hood got it done on both ends Monday against the Spurs.
The seven-year veteran felt good and it showed.
Hood finished with a season-high 21 points after notching a quick seven points to start the game.
However, Portland was outmatched Monday afternoon after getting out to a slow start in the fourth quarter and getting outworked on the glass as San Antonio cruised to a 111-87 victory.
But Hood was the bright spot Monday.
“He was aggressive offensively,” Coach Stotts added. “He had a good bounce to him. He had a rhythm to him on his shot. He was aggressive in the post. It was really good to see him play like we knew he can.”
After Monday’s loss and a season-high in scoring, Hood was not out on the court postgame getting up shots, but rather in the postgame interview room.
Hood explained what it’s been like still working to get back to full strength now that the season is underway.
“A game like this happens -- you feel good, you feel back to yourself, but just knowing that it’s going to be a long process it can be frustrating -- no doubt about it, but I just got to keep plugging away at it and think long term.”
Hood ended up playing 25 minutes against the Spurs. Coach Stotts admitted that wasn’t the plan.
“He was going to be on a 18-minute limit tonight. We extended it because he felt good. So hopefully this is something we can build on.”
Heading into Monday’s contest with 11 games under his belt, Hood was averaging just 1.6 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 13.1 minutes per game.
With McCollum out, and even when Portland’s starting shooting guard returns, Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard knows that an aggressive Hood is just what they need.
Lillard also discussed how it was encouraging to see Hood have such a performance after his long road back from the Achilles tear.
As Hood gets back into the rhythm and thinks about his body’s future for the long season ahead, the Blazers as a team are looking to do the exact same.