Injury crisis: Hawks all hobble, no bounce

Rhys Martin and Tyson Demos. Pictures: KIRK GILMOUR
Rhys Martin and Tyson Demos. Pictures: KIRK GILMOUR
Lance Hurdle and Tyson Demos.

Lance Hurdle and Tyson Demos.


The Wollongong Hawks will have just one recognised guard for today's Australia Day clash with titleholders New Zealand after losing another player to injury.

Shooting guard Tyson Demos became Wollongong's latest casualty after breaking down with a knee injury at training.

Demos joined teammates Rhys Martin (knee) and Lance Hurdle (knee) on the sidelines and is awaiting results of scans.

Import Adris Deleon will start at the point guard position against the league-leading Breakers, with Tim Coenraad in the starting five in place of Demos.

Unless new import Malcolm Grant receives an 11th-hour clearance from immigration, the Hawks won't have a single guard on the bench, aside from rarely used development squad players Alex Beagley and Zac Delaney.

For a team trying to halt a six-game losing slide, the latest setback couldn't have come at a worse time.

"These things happen in professional sport, but you just don't want them coming one after the other," Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod said.

"We're waiting for the report in regards to the MRI, and then we'll need to get Tyson into a specialist as soon as we can, but it's certainly not looking good for [tonight]'s game. Given how he felt at practice, it's not positive.

"It was just a nothing situation [at training] where he just turned to go and felt his knee pop.

"It's very frustrating because he just starts to get on a bit of a roll and things look promising for him, and then he gets a setback, and his setback is an even bigger setback for us a group."

Grant, a 185 centimetre replacement for Hurdle, could yet be a surprise inclusion but McLeod isn't holding his breath.

"The club is working hard to get all the stuff done to get Malcolm to play, but that's in other people's hands," he said.

"We've done what we can do with regards to that."

A championship-calibre team when they bolted out of the gate with seven wins from their first eight games, the fourth-placed Hawks (8-9) have become a shell of their former selves.

But McLeod typically remained positive about his team's chances of winning enough of their last 11 games to book a finals berth.

"Whatever way you want to look at it, when adversity like this stares you in the face, you just have to find ways to get around the hurdles and compete," the 2009-10 NBL Coach of the Year said.

"You just keep circling the wagons and look at different ways to try and compete to the best of your ability. That's what we try and do every week.

"It's very frustrating for everyone - the club, the players and the coaching staff - and it'd be very disappointing and frustrating for our fans.

"As a team, we have to try and formulate a game plan with the personnel we've got to find a way to compete.

"A number of guys will have to play out of position, and as a team we're just going to have to find a way to get into our offences and defend them. That's all we can do.

"We have to play as hard as we possibly can and see where the cards lay," McLeod said.


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