Spurs: Rudy Gay says he had to relearn to walk after Achilles injury

By Rob Wolkenbrod

San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay spoke to GQ about his return from injury and the process of getting back in shape.

When the San Antonio Spurs signed Rudy Gay in the offseason, it came with a risk. He had not played basketball since January, after suffering a season-ending Achilles rupture, with the Sacramento Kings. The 30 games played was the lowest total of Gay’s 11-year career, and came just months before he hit free agency.

The UConn product could have stayed with the Kings for $14 million, but opted out of his deal. He signed with the Spurs for two years, $17.2 million, with a player option for 2018-19.

Before and after the free-agent process, Gay spent time rehabbing his Achilles. He was fully cleared in July, but didn’t get the chance to play in the Spurs’ first preseason game on Monday.

In an interview with GQ, Gay spoke about his recovery from his Achilles rupture and how grueling it was for him. Most notably, how he had to relearn to walk and be an athlete.

“You go from playing above the rim and running miles at a time to not even being able to walk. Going through rehab, I think the first thing for me was learning how to walk again, so that I could feel like a normal adult and do things like play with my kid. From there, I had to [relearn] how to be an athlete.”

Gay also discussed his diet changes. He had to overhaul how he ate, including giving up bread and pasta.

It’s approaching one year that Gay hasn’t played, so it will be interesting to see how he performs in his first game action. That could be on Friday night, when the Spurs face the Sacramento Kings at the AT&T Center. If not, there are three more preseason games for him to get some on-court time.

If Gay is healthy and ready to play, then look for him to get time sooner than later. He still might be slowly worked into the lineup to start the 2017-18 season, but the on-court reps can boost his confidence and ensure he’s at least comfortable moving on his repaired Achilles.

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Let’s see what happens when the 31-year-old finally steps onto the court. It could be Friday. If not, the next preseason game is on Sunday, Oct. 8 against the Denver Nuggets.