Basketball: Breakers may need replacement import

By Kris Shannon

Ben Woodside of the Breakers reacts to an injury. Photo / Getty
Ben Woodside of the Breakers reacts to an injury. Photo / Getty

It's a bitter blow that after his best game, and with the roster rounding into top form, the Breakers may now need to replace Ben Woodside.

The point guard suffered a potentially serious foot injury during Friday's victory in Melbourne, ruling him out of at least tomorrow afternoon's encounter with Brisbane at Vector Arena.

But the concern around Woodside is about much more than tomorrow. The Breakers (3-3) can cope against the Bullets (3-3) with Corey Webster running the point and Izzy Tueta - himself an injury replacement for Shea Ili - increasing his minutes off the bench.

The reason the Breakers were in a sombre mood rather than celebration mode after beating Melbourne is the possible long-term ramifications.

The worst has yet to be confirmed but it's feared Woodside could miss months, potentially curtailing his Breakers career when it's barely begun. Coach Paul Henare has already spoken to the club's scout in the United States and a new recruit could be in place as early as next week.

Henare revealed Woodside had been managing a plantar fascia problem throughout the new campaign but, late in his side's overtime victory, the injury became too much to bear.

"He's pretty sore," Henare said. "We've still got the wait for the scans. We'll try to get him in as quickly as possible to get some firm answers on that.

"You read different articles and talk to different medical people, some say four-to-six weeks and some say 15. So I don't know. You never really know. For us now, it's really about finding more about exactly what it is, and then going from there."

What's particularly galling for Henare is the win over Melbourne provided a snapshot of how effective Woodside could prove, dishing nine assists to go with his 10 points and helping the Breakers dominate on the inside.

"He was so poised down the stretch, he made some big plays and got others involved," Henare said. "He showed some real heart. He was hurting and he pushed himself literally to the limit, and I think the guys will be extremely proud of him for doing that."

The loss of Woodside cast a pall over what was the Breakers' second-straight impressive victory. After the offence last weekend exploded against Adelaide, Friday night's was a more unflinching effort, overcoming some stumbles and receiving key contributions throughout the squad.

With the help of Woodside's distribution, centre Alex Pledger enjoyed one of his most productive games in a Breakers singlet, and forward Rob Loe provided consecutive threes in the final minutes to win it.

"We're classed as a perimeter-only team," Henare said. "So it was really good input from those boys and just helped ticking that score over."

- NZ Herald

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