Prior ACL tear made Dinwiddie's rehab last year 'a lot easier'


If there was one bright side to Spencer Dinwiddie's rehab from a season-ending injury just three games into the altered 2020-21 NBA season for the Nets, it was that he had been through something far worse before. 

"The experience was completely different," Dinwiddie told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller. "I was optimistic throughout the whole process. I was happy with the process. The mental side for me was not nearly as hard as some people may have thought it might be because I've been through something twice as bad."

That twice-as-bad injury occurred when Dinwiddie was a junior averaging 14.3 points and 3.8 assists to lead his Colorado Buffaloes to a 14-2 start to the 2013-14 season. In a game against Washington, Dinwiddie's left knee buckled on the fast break and his whole career was put into question. 

Fast forward almost six years and an awkward plant with his right knee left Dinwiddie hobbling in similarly scary fashion. That prior experience of rehabbing through a full tear of the ACL and meniscus in his other knee made this rehabilitation process from a partial tear easier. 

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"The funny part about this one, and everyone was so spooked, it actually was a lot easier," Dinwiddie said. "When I tore my ACL in college about seven years ago...I blew out my knee. Boom. I'm thinking my track might be over, life may be changed forever.


"I was fortunate enough to still declare that year, went in the second round and grinded through a lot of experiences I've been through -- from the 15th man on the roster and cut on a roster to basically an all-star type of player. I've been every player on the roster outside a superstar."

Dinwiddie's journey has truly been a testament to his work ethic and resolve to be entrusted with bigger roles. From bouncing between the G-League his first couple seasons with the Pistons, a short stint with Chicago's G-League affiliate, to working his way up the Brooklyn depth chart, Dinwiddie hasn't deterred from his ultimate goals.

Now as the centerpiece of the Wizards' sign-and-trade with Brooklyn, Dinwiddie's perseverance to return to the form he showed during his career-best 2019-20 season will be paramount in maximizing his potential alongside Bradley Beal. 

Dinwiddie, 28, said Monday he'll be ready once next season ramps back up. 

"I anticipate being full-go for the regular season and training camp and all that stuff," he said during his introductory press conference.