Los Angeles Clippers forward Robert Covington told reporters on Tuesday that he considered retiring after suffering a bone bruise in his right knee when he was playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2018.
"At one point, I was ready to walk away from this game," Covington said, per Farbod Esnaashari of Sports Illustrated. "I really did a lot of groundwork with myself to have fun with it."
Covington suffered the injury during Minnesota's Dec. 31, 2018 game against the New Orleans Pelicans. He missed the remainder of the regular season before returning for the 2019-20 season opener the following October.
"People don't understand all the s--t we go through," Covington said. "Outside, it's a lot...It's a lot of negativity. If you're not in the right mental space, it can eat you."
Covington played for the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers in between his Minnesota and L.A. stints, with the Clippers landing him from the Blazers on Feb. 4.
He's still going strong and provided reasoning for why he didn't end up leaving the game three years ago.
"My family watching me play," Covington said. "I love the game, and I knew I wasn't ready to leave."
Covington looked great in a 113-100 road win over the Rockets on Tuesday by posting seven points, eight rebounds and four blocks in 22 minutes off the bench, although the 31-year-old said he was "robbed" of three more blocks.
Still, Covington is a valued member of a scorching-hot Clippers team that sits 33-31 after winning four straight and seven of its last six. L.A. is sure glad he didn't leave the NBA three years ago, and teammate Nicolas Batum cemented that notion.
L.A. will look for its fifth straight win when it returns home to face the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. Covington did well the last time he faced the Lakers, amassing 10 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals in 20 minutes off the bench in a 105-102 win.