Rudy Gay details return from ruptured Achilles injury
In January 2017, then-Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay suffered a full tear of his left Achilles in a loss to the Indiana Pacers. After a successful surgery, the former 8th overall pick (2006) was forced to miss the remainder of that season. Now a member of the San Antonio Spurs, Gay recently joined Uninterrupted to describe the rigorous rehabilitation process that followed.
During the documentary, Gay, now 31 years of age, revealed that his injury allowed dark thoughts to creep into the back of his mind — thoughts about his future and career. However, instead of being overcome by his emotions, he decided to go to work.
“I had a conversation with myself,” Gay said in his Uninterrupted clip. “I said, ‘Yo, you can’t be like this anymore.’ It doesn’t help you at all. People are looking at you like you’re diminished goods. So, what I did was try to prove myself again.”
“That’s what I think was so deflating about the injury,” Gay continued. “Because I was starting to play like myself again, be myself again. And it’s just one play, you know. It happened. I kind of broke down after that. I wasn’t listening to nobody… people telling me this, telling me that.”
Gay says there was one person who he looked to for guidance: Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
“Obviously, I’ve been around Kobe,” Gay said during his documentary. “I’ve played against him a bunch of times, but I forgot he tore his Achilles. So I was like, ‘let me holla’ at Kobe.”
“I kept trying to get (bits of information from Kobe),” Gay added. “Like, what did you do with your scar? (Kobe) was like, ‘Man, f*** the scar. It’s a war wound. Train like an a*****.’ That’s actually the exact words he said.”
Gay worked hard over that summer to get himself back into playing shape. Then, on July 1st, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich called.
“Pop called me the night of the 1st,” Gay said. “He asked me how the process of free agency was going. We just talked about it. (Coach Popovich) also said, ‘I know a lot of teams are going to offer you more money, but I don’t think they’ll offer you this opportunity.’ He said, ‘I’ll coach you. I don’t think you’ve ever been coached like I’m going to coach you.'”
Gay signed a two-year, $17 million deal with San Antonio in the 2017 offseason. He’s played in 36 games with the Spurs this season, averaging 11.1 points on 47.0 percent shooting from the field (32.9 percent from beyond the arc), 5.1 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. The former University of Connecticut Husky recently returned after missing two months with a right heel injury.
In his closing remarks, Gay noted that he would like to play for a few more years.
“You see Manu (Ginobili) is still moving good,” Gay noted. “If I can play like that, I’ll play. I wanna be like Vince Carter. I still feel good. Why not?”