Injured Hurdle keen on Hawks comeback

BASKETBALL

Electric import Lance Hurdle is open to a return to Wollongong - now it's up to his soon-to-be reconstructed knee and Hawks officials to make it happen.

In a fragment of good news in an otherwise horrid week for the Hawks, the 25-year-old said he would welcome the chance to return to the NBL's only foundation club.

The diagnosis on the All-Star shooting guard's knee injury, which will require a full reconstruction, plunged the Hawks further into an injury crisis that shows no signs of slowing.

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Hurdle has been booked in for surgery on his ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in Sydney tomorrow.

Point guard Rhys Martin, who also snapped his ACL in the same game as Hurdle, will have his knee operated on either late this week or early next week.

But despite the prospect of facing countless hours of rehabilitation during a nine-month layoff, Hurdle is already toying with a return to the Wollongong Hawks.

"I love the league and I would love to come back next year and play for the Hawks if that's possible," he said.

"It's just a great league when you have people who care about you as a person and you want to be a part of that."

So impressed with Hurdle's impact since arriving in Australia, the Hawks have agreed to let the fan favourite remain involved with the group until the end of the season.

He will complete the bulk of his rehabilitation alongside Martin.

"This is a great organisation, allowing me to do that," Hurdle said.

‘‘You can’t stay negative because when you’re positive it helps you out with the healing process.’’

Hawks coach Gordie McLeod was also effusive in his praise of Hurdle’s impact at the Hawks, both on and off the court.

‘‘You want to recruit players that have got ability, but you want to recruit good people,’’ he said. 

‘‘He’s worked hard in everything we’ve asked him to do – whether it’s basketball or in the community with the work we do.’’ McLeod refused to rule out bringing in another import to replace Hurdle, but said talks with former Adelaide 36ers guard CJ Massingale had broken down.

Front-office staff are working feverishly to replenish the backcourt stocks, with McLeod hesitant to nominate whether the club would confine their search to within Australia or go overseas.

‘‘We need to be quick, but we don’t want it hurried,’’ he said. 

‘‘We’ve placed Lance on an injury waiver and we’re looking for someone to help us on the weekend just to give us some extra bodies.

‘‘We’ve now got to decide is there an Australian guy out there that we can bring in or do we go down the import route? Are we able to bring one person in or can we bring two in?’’

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