Chats with the Cats: Jon Hood

jtipton@herald-leader.comOctober 3, 2011 

  • Height, weight: 6-7, 215

    Position: Guard

    Class: Junior

    Hometown: Madisonville

    High school: North Hopkins

  • This is the fourth in a series of question-and-answer sessions with each of the 15 University of Kentucky men's basketball players.

    Coming Tuesday: Terrence Jones

Q: How did you tear your anterior cruciate ligament?

A: "I was dribbling down in transition and decided to attack the rack, attack the lane, rather. I took the ball behind my back and got Darius (Miller). And then I crow-hopped and brought the ball over Mike Gilchrist's arm and then kind of came down. I must have landed on some sweat. My right knee went in and my ankle went out to the side and kind of torqued behind me. I kind of felt a pop, felt the tear."

Q: How worried were you?

A: "I just hoped it was something that wasn't season-ending, (rather) something to put me out three weeks or so."

Q: Can you look at a season off as a blessing?

A: "It's kind of like getting held back in high school. You have another year of eligibility, if that's what we decide to do. You get more mature. You learn a lot about yourself when you can't do anything. When you can't play pickup in the summer, when you can't work out, you can't go through individuals, you learn a bunch of stuff about yourself."

Q: What have you learned about yourself?

A: "I learned I'm mentally tougher than anybody has ever thought."

Q: Haven't you communicated with North Carolina's Leslie McDonald, who tore an ACL about the same time as you?

A: "Leslie and I are friends. We've been on college visits together, to Tennessee together. I saw him out at North Carolina when we both took unofficials the same weekend, and went to NBA camp. He's a great guy. He's one of my buddies. We're kind of racing to see who can get back first."

Q: Robbie Hummel of Purdue is another college player who has had to deal with a major injury. What advice did he give you?

A: "He just said, don't worry about it. Rehab it. Keep going hard at it and take your time and you'll be back before you know it. Don't rush it because that's how you get hurt."

Q: What's the timetable for your return?

A: "They haven't given me a specific: OK, you'll be ready to go at this point. It's round about six months."

Q: That sounds like playing this coming season is a possibility?

A: "I don't know. All I'm worrying about now is rehabbing my knee and getting back as soon as possible. I haven't sat down with Coach. Once it's time for us to make that decision where if it's in my best interests to redshirt, then we'll do it."

About Hood: He tore the ACL in his right knee in a July 18 pickup game and is expected to miss the 2011-12 season. "I was hoping he'd have a breakout season," Coach John Calipari said after Hood's surgery in August. "Like I told him, there's always a silver lining. He can use this as (a way to get) a year older and a year more mature."

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