GUARD Kevin Lisch will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness for Sunday’s clash with Melbourne with the call on his availability likely to be left until game day.
The former MVP limped from the court early in the third quarter of the Hawks 79-74 loss to Cairns after being laid out by a screen from Taipans forward Alex Loughton.
Lisch watched the remainder of the game from the bench with his knee in a brace and is 50-50 at best to take on Melbourne on Sunday.
It’s a blow the Hawks can ill-afford with regular point-guard Rhys Martin already sidelined by injury.
Should Lisch fail to recover in time it would leave the Hawks down two starting guards but coach Rob Beveridge said he won’t pushing his star import so early in the season.
‘‘There’s zero prognosis yet,’’ Beveridge said.
‘‘He obviously got smashed on that screen and he’s hyper-extended his knee a bit.
‘‘We’ll get him checked out in Melbourne and our medical staff are all over it.
‘‘We don’t want to put any players at risk at any time so if Kev can’t play Sunday he definitely won’t play.
‘‘We’re not going to push him, it’s not about anyone’s ego or having to win games early.
‘‘But Kev’s a real tough kid and we’ll do everything in our power to make sure he’s OK [to play].’’
The Hawks missed Lisch’s composure down the stretch in their first-up loss after the scores were locked at 71-all with just over two minutes to play before an 8-0 run in the final 90 seconds sealed the game for the Taipans.
The Hawks were ultimately made to pay for their 23 turnovers while AJ Ogilvy, Tim Coenraad and Kirk Penney found themselves in foul trouble.
‘‘We had 23 turnovers and as group it’s unacceptable to do that,’’ Beveridge said.
‘‘When you’re playing a really good half-court team on their home court in their first game they’re always going to be tough to beat so you’ve got to take care of the ball.
‘‘We turned the ball over too much, fouled too much and probably didn’t rebound as well as we would’ve liked.
‘‘We were disappointed because we gave ourselves a chance to win the game but just down the stretch didn’t have the ability to get it done.
‘‘I think that happens when you’ve got no Lisch and no Martin on the floor there.
‘‘They’re our big-time players and it could’ve been a completely different story if we had those guys.’’
Beveridge said his side will need to address those areas ahead of their clash with Melbourne who will be looking to make a statement in season-opener on their home court.
‘‘They’re the most talented team in the league,” he said.
“They’ve loaded up and they’ve got a bunch of superstars and we know that we’re up against it.
‘‘We’re not at 100 per cent and that’s just the way it is.
“We’ll go in have a swing and see what happens.’’