Tom Abercrombie shakes off hamstring injury
Corey Webster is touch and go for the New Zealand Breakers' Sunshine Swing this weekend, though the news was a lot more positive on star swingman Tom Abercrombie.
Webster had to sit out last Friday's 79-76 Australian NBL victory over the Sydney Kings after he'd suffered a back strain during the week in practice. That fourth straight win improved the threepeat-chasing Breakers to 4-1 for the new season.
Initial medical reports after the Kings game had Webster looking pretty positive for this week's North Queensland double against the Townsville Crocodiles on Friday night and Cairns Taipans just 24 hours later.
But after suffering another setback at practice on Tuesday, fresh doubts have arisen over whether combo guard Webster will be up for the trip.
Coach Andrej Lemanis said Webster would be reassessed on Wednesday and if he was not fit his place would be taken by development player Reuben Te Rangi.
Webster today indicated he would not be taking any chances with an injury that has the potential to escalate into something quite serious, but hoped to make the trip if he could.
At least Abercrombie had managed to shake off the hamstring injury that saw him on Friday go scoreless for the Breakers for the first time in the last 90 appearances.
The 2011 finals MVP went zero-for-four from the field and had just a single rebound as he struggled with a hamstring strain picked up in the first quarter.
But after Abercrombie practised fully on Monday and Tuesday, Lemanis gave his starting small forward the green light for the weekend double-header.
Not that the Breakers needed Abercrombie's usual productive contribution last Friday.
"The beauty of our group is with the depth and all-round talent we can get different contributions at different times so we're not relying on one person to always carry us," said Lemanis.
"If someone is down, someone else is up. Against Townsville (on Oct 19) Cedric [Jackson] scored for the first time with three seconds to go, yet we were still able to win that. This week it was Tommy. Different people are stepping up to help in different ways."
Lemanis was looking forward to getting his team away for a testing double which he reckoned could only be good for "the chemistry".
"Any time you go play on the road it's tough, but particularly back-to-back games like this. But it's a good challenge. It's about coming out playing your game and focusing on the things that are important to us as team and continuing to improve.
"Our defence is getting better and better every week and holding out for longer patches each week. And offensively we're starting to find more and more of our rhythm and groove and understanding where we want to go at certain times."
The 0-7 Crocs look ripe for the plucking first up, but a 3-3 Cairns outfit fresh off a morale-boosting overtime victory in Townsville last round may present a much more difficult obstacle on Saturday night.
The Breakers will be looking to improve their shooting numbers across the board and perhaps even break 80 for the first time this season.
If not they'll have to rely on their pressure defence getting them home once again.