There have been times in his career that NZ Breakers giant Alex Pledger thought he would never reach the milestone that looms for him later this week.

Provided the seven-foot centre suits up in Cairns on Friday night, he will become just the fifth player to notch up 200 Australian NBL games for the Breakers, a feat that will be further celebrated when he returns to the North Shore Events Centre on Sunday to face Adelaide 36ers.

The fact he has made it to the double century is in itself a feat of endurance, one that he might not have considered too seriously, given the battles he has endured and overcome in recent years to be fit and available.

"Chief" missed most of the 2013/14 season with an ankle injury and limped through most of the following campaign with a "turf toe" complaint that required surgery.

But having regained his fitness, he was one of the first signings for new head coach Paul Henare, who regards him as a player you can build a team around.


"It is not a surprise for a player like Chief, in our competition when you play 30 games a year if you are around long enough, these milestones will come along," said Henare.

"He is big for us - excuse the pun. When he is cementing our defence by being that rim protector at the back, rebounding well and playing with confidence at the offensive end, he is a hell of a player.

"He's 29 [years old] and a lot of big guys get into their prime at that age, so I think we are still going to see some improvements and really good basketball out of him."

Pledger is understandably proud of his achievements in the game and the 200-game milestone, but has eyes on only on doing his utmost to deliver yet more success and a shot at a fifth NBL Championship this summer.

It is not lost on Pledger, either, that all who have gone beyond 200 games for the Breakers are still with the club, either playing (Mika Vukona and Tom Abercrombie), coaching (Henare) or in the front office ( general manager Dillon Boucher).

"To be mentioned in the same breath as legends of the club like them is special to group to be part of," he said.

"It doesn't matter so much for me. Don't get me wrong, I am proud to be able to get to this point with the club, but in saying that, it won't change my approach or the team's approach to the game.

"We will go in with the same mindset as we do every game, so from that point of view, it won't have a massive overall effect on the game on Friday."

Getting this far, after facing injuries that often end the careers of players of his stature, has been a bonus for Pledger, who debuted with the Breakers in 2009 as a development player.

"There were definitely times when I thought I might not ever get to this point and might not be the player that I was before those injuries.

"But I have worked pretty hard and I think I still have a lot of work to do, but I am starting to feel like my old self and, yeah, I am proud of myself because of that."

Pledger says there is only one way that he can truly enjoy the milestone and perhaps allow himself a small celebration post-game on Friday.

"Cairns is a tough place to get a win and they have a hostile crowd up there, so to get out with a 'W' would make the milestone all the sweeter, for sure."

315 Mika Vukona
250 Paul Henare
241 Tom Abercrombie
220 Dillon Boucher

199 Alex Pledger