Rhys Martin's memory of injury lingers

BASKETBALL

Wollongong playmaker Rhys Martin is wary of lightning striking twice when the Hawks battle the Cairns Taipans tomorrow night.

January 11, 2013, will be infamously etched in Martin's mind forever.

That was the day the 27-year-old tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during a home game against the Taipans.

The injury rubbed him out for the 2012-13 season and cast doubts over his fitness for the start of this season.

But after successful surgery and rehab, Martin has played all 14 games and gradually returned to full strength.

Tomorrow night marks precisely 12 months since he suffered the injury.

"It's going to be one year to the day that I did my ACL, and it's against the same team, so it's a massive game for me to get through," Martin said.

"It's in between the front and back of my mind. It's the most serious I've ever had to deal with and get back from.

"It's an interesting little date, and it's funny it's against the same team. I've got past that danger period of six to nine months, and a one-year milestone is certainly something you want to get past."

Wollongong (5-9) were last on the ladder this time last week.

They jumped to sixth with last Saturday's overtime victory over Perth and could move into outright fourth if they overcome the Taipans (6-9).

"It's pretty crazy that the league's so close that you can do that," Martin said.

"It kind of helps if Perth (12-3) and Adelaide (11-4) keep winning because it keeps everybody else in.

"The win against Perth in overtime will help our confidence, especially if we end up in that situation again.

"For us to beat a team like Perth in overtime, which is where we've struggled, it shows we've got the depth in our team. And it shows that when we play as a team and stick to the rules, that we can beat any team in the league."

Wollongong beat the Taipans by two in Cairns on November 23.

The Hawks host the Taipans in a rematch next weekend.

Missing for Cairns tomorrow will be injured forward Cam Tragardh (ankle).

"It's a pretty important couple of weeks, and any win on the road always helps," Martin said.

"Rebounding has been our Achilles heel at times, so with Trigger [Tragardh] out of the game and our bigs playing well together, that could go a long way towards helping us get a win."

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