Saturday, April 28, 2012

Martin return boosts Perth ahead of final

Corbin Middlemas

Updated April 24, 2012 18:15:16

Two-time NBL best defensive player Damian Martin is playing in game three of the grand final series tonight in Auckland despite spending the past few days in a moon boot.

Martin tore ligaments in his ankle during Perth's come from behind victory in game two last Friday but the Boomers guard trained with the group this morning in a shoot around after missing yesterday's session due to the injury.

Martin completed a fitness test on his troublesome ankle under the watchful eye of Cats' physio Dave Philpot.

"We ran him today in the shoot-around, it's noticeable that's he got an injury there but he did function reasonably well," Philpot said shortly after practise.

"He's got a mild to moderate strain of a couple of ligaments high up in his ankle, which really stabilise the whole joint, and as a result it's obviously very painful. We had all the scans done which showed the instability there is only very minor, which means that's he able to play."

In contrast to what was initially thought, Martin will not have an injection to numb the pain before tip-off.

"Unfortunately because the ligament is a weight baring one, so you really cant inject it with a local because if he does anymore damage you really want to know about it," said Philpot.

"You can't afford to let him run around on a ligament that's busted, and at any stage there is that risk he's going to go out and do more damage, hopefully we've done enough to keep that risk pretty low. But it's always there. I'm pretty confident that he'll play and have his usual impact."

The Wildcats appeared in good spirits after arriving at the arena this morning, as Cameron Tovey and Shawn Redhage re-enacted the latter's game winning block from game two.

Compounding coach Rob Beveridge's injury concerns though is the health of Greg Hire, who played a pivotal role off the bench in game two.

"Right now, Greg (Hire) is very sick," Beveridge said six hours before tip-off.

"He couldn't train yesterday, he's had migraines and been vomiting, things like that, again this morning he couldn't do a whole lot either."

Hire hit a season-high 12 points, and played considerably greater minutes after Tovey found himself in early foul trouble.

Victory tonight for Perth would deliver the club a record sixth NBL championship in its 26th consecutive play-offs campaign.

Coverage of game three from Auckland can be heard live on ABC Grandstand Digital and online from 5:30pm AEST.

Tags: basketball, sport, perth-6000, wa, australia, new-zealand

First posted April 24, 2012 15:38:18

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