It has been reported that Rodney Hood injured his right Achilles tendon during a practice for Team USA this summer. An Achilles tendon injury could have been a season ending injury, but in a bit of good news for the Blue Devils, he should be back in time for the season. Duke dodged a big blow to their season, so let’s look at what Hood means for Duke basketball.
Hood is a transfer from Mississippi State and had to sit out last year because of NCAA rules. All the reports from practices made it sound like he picked up the offensive schemes pretty swiftly and that he fit in to the Duke system from day one. It seemed like he was ready to go this year and impress NBA scouts– he hasn’t left it a secret: he wants to leave after this year for the NBA.
Hood was a top recruit in 2011, but wanted to stay close to home, so he went to Mississippi State. He didn’t have the year he wanted for the Bulldogs and decided to transfer to Duke. Hoping he gained a better understanding and feel for the college game, he wanted to take that next step and show everyone he was ready for the NBA. If this Achilles injury proved to be major, it would have hurt him going in to the next year’s draft and he might have had to go back to Duke for another year.
This injury wouldn’t have been good for the Duke Blue Devils either. While the Devils are going to have a great starting lineup and a deep bench, Hood is essential to that starting five. Hood will be backed up by sophomore Alex Murphy and freshman Semi Ojeleye. Both players are untested in the college game. Murphy saw very few minutes last year, but did show some bright spots in his game when he got the chance. Ojeleye is coming in to his first year and you really never know what you’re going to get from a freshman or how they are going to handle tough times in the college game.
If the injury had been season-ending, Coach Krzyzewski might have had to think about going small, much like he was forced to do last year, except it would contain a lineup with Andre Dawkins instead of Seth Curry to pair up with Rasheed Sulaimon. This was more of an option last year because they had a bigger front court with two players 6-foot-10 and up. This year, he will be lucky to start one player over 6-foot-8.
This would have left Duke with a shorter lineup and a less athletic one as well. The two things that they want to do this season depend on the starters. They won’t be able to switch on defense as much if Hood wasn’t able to play major minutes this season, and their offense wouldn’t have been as good because they have one less player who can create his own shot. If he couldn’t play this year because of the injury, it would have left Duke outside of the Final Four and maybe even the Sweet Sixteen. This could have been a major injury for Duke and wouldn’t let us see how well this team could have been or what they can do this year.
The reports about Hood say he should only miss 4 to 6 weeks so it’s not a major injury and we should be able to see what this team can do this year with Hood in the lineup.