A bizarre leg infection threatens to knock Wollongong Hawks guard Tyson Demos out of Sunday's home clash with the Cairns Taipans.
Demos was admitted to hospital on Sunday night and is on strong antibiotics. He is expected to be bedridden at least until tomorrow.
"It's just a random, unlucky kind of injury," he said.
"Hopefully the antibiotics will kick in and it'll start healing."
Demos copped a stray boot to the shin in the January 4 overtime win over Perth.
He sustained a small cut and bruising, but didn't think anything more of the injury until his leg started swelling on the eve of last Saturday's road meeting with Cairns.
Shrugging off advice of the Cairns team doctor that he should not play, the 25-year-old was on court for 15 minutes, racking up two points, three assists and two rebounds.
But he endured a sleepless night because of the increasing pain and swelling in his leg and realised the injury was worse than he thought.
"I saw the Cairns doctor on Sunday morning and he told me I have to go to hospital," Demos said.
"He jabbed me with some antibiotics, I got on the flight, and as soon as I got home to Wollongong I came straight to hospital.
"It's pretty badly infected. I have to rest it and stay off it as much as possible, and try to get the swelling down."
Demos was told the type of infection he has can develop into a serious problem if it isn't treated.
"I'm probably lucky I got onto it fairly quickly," he said.
"It just started spreading, like a red track in my veins. It can get into your glands and into your bloodstream, and that's when you can get really sick."
Already without rookie guard Dominique Cooks (knee injury), the fifth-placed Hawks (6-9) can't afford to lose Demos.
"I'm not necessarily out for this week's game. I just have to play it day by day and see how it feels," the former Illawarra junior rep said.
"I'm going to do everything possible to play."
The Hawks' 82-79 win over Cairns was their fifth victory in their past eight games.
"We didn't have the best game, but we dug deep and did what we had to do to get the win," Demos said.
"If you're finding ways to win games like that, you're obviously doing something right."