For a rookie trying to carve out a spot in the NBA, such an injury makes things that much more challenging.
“It was very tough dealing with that, because you just want to be out there playing,” Jazz rookie Rodney Hood told Dime a few hours before his former teammates at Duke tipped off against Robert Morris. “Sometimes I’d have an experience where I’d try to be tough, and it would just get a little worse. It’s great to be all the way healthy now, and to make progress on that end.”
With his feet finally cooperating with him, Hood has flourished in March, scoring more than 11 points per game. His signature performance came against the Hornets, when he scored 24 points in just 21 minutes, hitting all five of his three-pointers. The sweet-shooting guard also had 20 points against Houston and 19 against the Warriors, two of the best teams in the West.
This isn’t to say Hood hasn’t had the typical first-year bumps in the road, but last year’s No. 23 overall pick has more than validated himself as a significant contributor for a young Utah squad that has had a prosperous second half and appears poised for big things in the near future.
“I feel great,” Hood said. “I’m just getting back into the swing of things. I was out a long time, so I’m getting back in real game shape and trying to finish out the season strong.”
Dime chatted with Hood about dealing with injuries, his recent run of success and his thoughts on March Madness. (The interview has been edited and condensed.)