The NZ Breakers could be without Scotty Hopson for more than a month as the star forward recovers from a torn ligament in his knee.

Hopson was injured in the second quarter of the side's win over Cairns in Auckland last week, and told the Herald he "felt a slight pop" as he fell to the hardwood.

"It was a scary time for me," Hopson said. "I've never had a knee injury before and I felt a slight pop which I think is where the scare came from.

"I remember holding my knee and thinking the worst, but I got some good news from the doctors and the scans came back all positive. It wasn't as bad as it could have been."


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Hopson is the latest addition to the Breakers' casualty ward, joining Rob Loe (fractured skull) and Finn Delany (foot) on the sidelines.

The timeline for Hopson's return remains broad, with the most recent indications suggesting he could return within anywhere from two to six weeks.

Scotty Hopson was injured during the Breakers match against the Cairns Taipans. Photo / Photosport
Scotty Hopson was injured during the Breakers match against the Cairns Taipans. Photo / Photosport

"I've been hurt before. This is just another small bump in the road. We'll get past it in the next few weeks and I can't wait to have me, Rob Loe and Finn Delany back healthy. We're a dynamic team when we're at full strength."

The side have signed former NBA player Glen Rice Jr as a nominated injury replacement player as cover while Hopson is sidelined, with the ex-Washington Wizards guard set to make his ANBL debut on Thursday in front of at least 7,800 fans in Auckland against Melbourne United.

The 28-year-old is a familiar face to coach Dan Shamir, who coached him in Israel last year where Rice Jr was the league leader in scoring.

"He brings a different element to our team. He can score the basketball and is a really physical player," Hopson said. "He's just going to raise the level of our basketball club. Me, Rob and Finn don't have to rush because we've got some reinforcements now. It's good for us man, so I'm excited going forward.

"Not being able to be out there and help my team compete that stings a little bit. But I get the chance to be somewhat of an assistant coach; continue to be a leader but do it from the sideline and help put guys in the position to be successful. I'll still be a huge integral part of this organisation, but I have to do it from the sideline."

Glen Rice Jr played for the Washington Wizards from 2013-15. Photo / Getty Images
Glen Rice Jr played for the Washington Wizards from 2013-15. Photo / Getty Images

While Rice Jr comes to the team with plenty of talent and upside, he has had issues off the court which have been a cause of concern. He was released for a period in Israel after punching a teammate but ultimately returned to the club, and has had troubles with the law on a number of occasions.

Speaking to the Radio Sport Breakfast, Breakers boss Matt Walsh addressed the concerns surrounding the new import's chequered past, and said he believed the club had the systems in place to support any player they needed to.

"The reason that we are willing to take on a player like that is we believe we have the support systems to help him on and off the court," Walsh said.

"If he comes in and is ready to perform, he's one of the best, if not the best, player in our league … just because he's had a chequered past doesn't mean that's going to reflect on how he's going to act here."

NZ Breakers v Melbourne United

Thursday November 7, 7.30pm
Spark Arena, Auckland