San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs: Rudy Gay is motivated after lengthy injury rehab

By Rob Wolkenbrod
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 27: Rudy Gay #22 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots the ball from the free-throw line during the game against the Washington Wizards on March 27, 2018 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 27: Rudy Gay #22 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots the ball from the free-throw line during the game against the Washington Wizards on March 27, 2018 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
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San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay spent most of the 2017 summer rehabbing a torn Achilles tendon. In an interview, Gay said he’s looking forward to working on his game and discussed part of his rehab mindset.

When Rudy Gay joined the San Antonio Spurs in July 2017, it was six months after a torn Achilles, which he suffered while on the Sacramento Kings in January of that year. He was not the first player to be hampered by that injury, with Kobe Bryant among those to deal with this past the page of 30.

In an interview with Hoops Hype, due to the injury and subsequent comeback, Gay was asked if he ever considered retirement. With this response, it seems he never did:

“Man, that’s a question I haven’t gotten before! Just thinking off the top, when you go through an injury like that and you work really hard to come back as quickly as I did, it can either go two ways: You can feel burnt out or you can feel hungry for more. Personally, I’m hungry for more. As far as how many years I have left, I don’t know. But I don’t feel like the end is near at all.”

Looking forward, Gay wants to focus on his game this offseason, rather than spending the summer rehabbing, and return in greater form next season:

“This season, I was so hungry to get out there and play. The last year, I was dedicated to rehab and getting back on the court. Now, I’m focused on getting better next season and being able to help my team even more. This summer, I can actually get in the gym and work on my game rather than spending all my time in rehab. I’m motivated to be an even better player next season.”

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It’s a positive to see this mindset from Gay, who seemingly went through a vigorous rehab to get back. This did not cause him to miss the start of the 2017-18 season, although a heel injury cost the 31 year old nearly two months.

Gay was expected to play behind Kawhi Leonard, who also dealt with an injury, except one that took up most of the season. The 12-year pro addressed Leonard’s status in the interview and said the situation “was blown out of proportion.”

However, will Gay be able to follow up on his first season in San Antonio? He owns a player option for just under $9 million in 2018-19 but said he has not thought about it yet. Danny Green and Joffrey Lauvergne also have player options for next year.

Next: 2018 NBA Mock Draft: SAS edition

This season, Gay averaged 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game on 47.1 percent shooting in 21.6 minutes, a career-low but due to his role off the bench. He appeared in 57 games and started six of them.

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