The Illawarra Hawks were dealt big blow before their home opener with star import Kevin Lisch set to remain sidelined for Wednesday’s clash with the New Zealand Breakers.
The American guard underwent scans on his knee earlier this week after being canvassed by a screen in the Hawks’ first-up loss to Cairns last Thursday.
It forced him to miss Illawarra’s road loss to Melbourne on Sunday and will keep him out for their encounter with the Breakers at WIN Entertainment Centre.
He joins regular back court partner Rhys Martin in the injury ward.
Hawks coach Rob Beveridge said the club would take a patient approach to their rehabilitation.
‘‘It is nothing major at all. [Lisch’s] is just a soft tissue injury that we will continue rehabbing over the next week or so,’’ he said.
‘‘He definitely won’t play on Wednesday but he is improving every single day.
‘‘You are not going to push or rush him back at all.
Lisch said the injury continues to improve but remained on light shooting duties at Tuesday’s training.
He is considered unlikely to be available in time for the Hawks’ away game against the Sydney Kings on Saturday.
‘‘It is frustrating to have this sort of injury because I am having so much fun,’’ he said.
‘‘Every team goes through adversity and we are just getting ours right at the beginning.
‘‘We are going to look back on this when we are in the playoffs and say it was definitely worth it.’’
The injury will thrust back-up guards Kevin White and Jarrad Weeks into the limelight.
Weeks signed on a four-game deal last week to counter the loss of Martin and will more than likely see even more clock now Lisch is hurt.
The pair will have the unenviable job of guarding star Breakers import Cedric Jackson, who finished with a triple-double in New Zealand’s win over Townsville on Sunday.
Hawks captain Oscar Forman believes the increased load is something they will cope with.
He also agreed with the club’s decision not to rush things with their starting guards.
‘‘You don’t want to rush someone back just because you are undermanned. You want people to come back because they are ready,’’ Forman said.
‘‘That is the tough thing.
‘‘Of the remaining guys who are out there we need to make sure we fill those spots.
‘‘There is a lot more on some of the other guys to play out of position and play extra minutes.
‘‘Kevin White played point guard for us. He did a great job for us. He is a great passer for the ball and his defence was outstanding.”
Forman also gave Weeks credit.
“Coming in with no preparation with the team pretty much and only one training session under his belt to pick up things on the fly...I think he played exceptionally well for us,” he said.