Rudy T. is back.
Playing in his first basketball game before a crowd since extensive surgery reconstructed his face, Rudy Tomjanovich made five of eight floor shots and finished with 10 points to help an NBA all-star team defeat Athletes In Action, 129-122, in an exhibition game Tuesday night at the San Diego Sports Arena.
The Houston Rockets' forward, who has gone through three facial operations since former Los Angeles Laker Kermit Washington punched him on Dec. 9, said the injury would not hurt his basketball career.
"I love the game of basketball and I want to quit when I want to quit, not because of something like this," said Tomjanovich, who opened the exhibition by sinking a 30-footer.
"I have been playing in practices for a Los Angeles summer league team," Tomjanovich said. "In tonight's game, as then, I have not felt any ill effects from the injury.
"I am two weeks away from training camp, but I feel I am at my normal level for this time of year."
Tomjanovich, who admits he is disturbed by the thought of physical contact on the court, stood his ground and drew one charging call Tuesday.
"I haven't got hit hard yet," he said. "I'll just have to deal with it."