Glenn Robinson III continues rehab process with game action in G League

The next step in Glenn Robinson III’s rehabilitation of his left ankle took him two hours north on Interstate 69, to Fort Wayne on Thursday, where he suited up for the Mad Ants of the G League for just the second time.

Robinson III played 28 minutes and finished with 12 points (5 of 14 from the field, 1 of 4 from range), two rebounds, and three assists in a 108-99 loss to the Wisconsin Herd.

“It felt great to get out there, it felt great to get a couple runs in … get my rhythm back and just feel the game again,” he said afterwards.

The Pacers had several individuals make the trip including Peter Dinwiddie (Senior VP of Basketball Operations), Tamika Catchings (Director of Player Programs & Franchise Development), Michael Hornback (Coordinator of Player Development) … and most notably, Head Athletic Trainer Josh Corbeil, who sat behind the Mad Ants’ bench.

Pacers trainer Josh Corbeil (back right) sitting behind the Mad Ants bench.

“He’s helped me throughout this whole process,” Robinson III said of Corbeil. “He told me, coming in, that he just wanted to see one play where I would get hit and fall on it, just to see how it felt on my ankle. He thought that would be the thing that could take it out of my mind.

“And the first play that I had was an and-1 to the basket off that leg so it really felt great to get me going.”

[Pacers training staff to assist Team LeBron at 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend]

Robinson III, who estimates that he is 85 to 90 percent, was gassed in the first period and left shots short — going 1 of 6 from the field.

“It’s great to have Glenn with us to get some game live minutes,” Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey said at halftime on the TV broadcast. “You could tell he got a little tired early on but I really like his pace right now. I think he got his legs under him towards the end of the half.”

GRIII returned to the court in mid-December and started practicing with the Pacers over the last few weeks. With limited practice time, Robinson III took part in half-court games played against team staffers in the morning of games and then again several hours before tip-off. Typically, he defended player development coach Dave McClure.

This rehab process began in early October after a hard fall in training camp. He underwent left ankle surgery on Oct. 13 and then had to teach himself how to do basic things like walk, doing more with each day.

“Every single day I’m doing some things that I didn’t think I could do the day before,” he said last month.

“I’m definitely itching to get back on the court. Every game that I watch, and especially seeing myself getting closer and closer, I knew I could be out there helping the team out. Us needing another wing, needing another defender, I think that I can really help this team out with my athleticism and the style of play that we play.”

He does not have timeline set for his season debut with the Pacers. That will be based on how he feels, and with input from the training staff and coach McMillan. Over the last few months, the mental part has been the most difficult part in his road to recovery.

“When I got out of the boot, I had to teach myself to walk. Then, the next day is running, Then, the next day is defense and stuff like that. Mentally, just staying in it and even things like now coming back and remembering all of the plays, having to do everything over again.”

This was another good use by the Pacers of their G League team. They have two players under two-way contracts, Edmond Sumner and Ben Moore, with Sumner also using it as a rehab vehicle. He only began playing last month. Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said in January that sending Robinson III to Fort Wayne was under consideration so this didn’t come as a surprise to Glenn.

“I thought that everything went great,” Robinson III added. “It went better than expected, and I’m happy with the results.”

He plans to fly to Charlotte to meet the Pacers for Friday’s game, then decide if he wants to return to Fort Wayne for another game set for Saturday night.

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