Highest knee rehab hurdles were mental for Jon Hood

jtipton@herald-leader.comOctober 4, 2012 

  • Meet the Cats

    This is the fifth in a series of stories on each of the 12 UK men's basketball players leading up to Big Blue Madness on Oct. 12. Coming Saturday: Brian Long

    Jon Hood

    Height, weight: 6-7, 212

    Position: Guard

    Class: Junior

    Hometown: Madisonville, Ky.

    High school: North Hopkins

While tallying assists for Kentucky this season, you should give one to former Purdue standout Robbie Hummel. He assisted in Jon Hood's nearly yearlong recovery from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

The moment when Hummel made a notable difference came about two or three months into the rehabilitative process, as Hood recalled. It was about then that doubt crept into the UK player's mind.

"It's like a weeklong period, and you're doing the same stuff, but you're not getting any better ... ," Hood said. "You can't push any more weight.

"Then after, like, the third day of the week, you have to push less weight because it seems like you're getting weaker."

For an intent achiever like Hood, such a pause — or plateau, if you will — is a potential problem. Hood had a lifetime of working and improving, as evidenced by his rise through Kentucky's high school basketball ranks. In his first two UK seasons, Hood could be seen getting in extra shooting long before many of his teammates came onto the Rupp Arena court.

"For a guy who's trained his entire life and gotten better at things and gotten stronger, that's one of the hardest (hurdles) that I can conceive," Hood said. "'I can't pump this weight out. I can't pump this rep out.'

"That's the hardest part. It's a mind game. It messes with you."

Such moments came three or four times in the rehabilitation, Hood said.

When asked how he dealt with the crisis, Hood said, "Well, I knew it was coming. Robbie told me it was coming."

UK officials also advised Hood to expect the rehab process to stall. "So I was ready for it," he said.

Hood proclaimed himself 100 percent recovered from the ACL surgery. He said he received approval to resume full activity in May. UK Coach John Calipari noted the improvement Hood has made as a player.

"It was hard coming back," Hood said. "But I'm finally here and ready to play. Ready and eager to move along."

Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227Twitter: @JerryTiptonBlog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com

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