When players run out for warm-ups, there's always a small handful that require some extra work from trainers on the floor. Rudy Gay is one of them. Before the Spurs' game Friday night against the Magic he's taking a little longer than the rest. That's because the Spurs are trying to make sure he's healthy and in the best shape possible. As they should. The Achilles injury Gay is trying to come back from has ruined careers, and the players who do manage to keep playing rarely look the same. This is why Gay's quick return and immediate solid play has been so surprising. Through five games, Gay is averaging 12 points and four rebounds a game with the Spurs while sporting an on/off net rating of 5.5. He's shooting 52 percent from the field and has a true shooting percentage of 58 percent. Get him into the paint, where San Antonio likes to do its best work, and he thrives. As you can see in the chart above, Gay has been flourishing in the paint, and especially under the basket. The Spurs are better offensively with Gay, and the team trusts he'll figure out the defense. He's providing a great spark for San Antonio off the bench, but what's more impressive is how quickly he's returned from the injury. "I was shocked when they said he was gonna come back for camp." Gregg Popovich said about Gay's return. "I was thinking November or something like that. When they told me he was coming to camp I thought they were crazy. I was relatively paranoid letting him play part of a practice, this or that. I still ask him 'How do you feel?' 'Was that too many minutes last night?' and he keeps saying he's fine. All the doctor people say that he's great so the answer is yeah, I am surprised." "Obviously it takes awhile." Danny Green said. "I don't know what it's like to come back from something like that, but he's bounced back and adjusted very well. Not playing for so long he has to get used to playing again, but I think he's playing very well for coming off an injury like that." Gay suffered the Achilles injury in January, but despite the short turnaround he's feeling perfectly fine and is ready to put in the work to contribute to a winning team.
Rudy Gay showing he's past Achilles injury, and Spurs are reaping the rewards
CBS Sports | Oct 28