ILLAWARRA medical staff will continue to monitor the fitness of boom rookie LaMelo Ball after he was sorely missed in a 10-point loss to Brisbane on Saturday night.
The club has been tight-lipped on the extent of the "sore foot" that kept the 18-year-old out of the clash with the Bullets, with his absence from the bench a conspicuous one.
Mercifully, Matt Flinn's squad have an eight-day turn into next Monday's home clash with Melbourne United, a game that shapes as newly-signed import Darington Hobson's first outing for the club.
The 32-year-old swingman might not be the only one making a club debut with owner Simon Stratford confirming on social media that the arrival of another fresh import is imminent.
The club is yet to announce the signing but its been linked to 6 ft 10 G League power forward Billy Preston as an injury replacement for young-gun Sam Froling.
Ball's fitness will remain the most pressing concern for Hawks fans, with Flinn hopeful he will be back on deck.
"We're still waiting to hear on that," Flinn said.
"I'm not sure, I need to talk to the medical team and [see] what's happening around that space. [From] what I do know it's not too serious, hopefully, so we can get him back as soon as possible.
"We've got eight days so we'll regroup now. We're going to have a bit of change to roster with Darington coming in. He'll be there this week so that'll be a good piece for us to add.
"Hopefully we can get him up to speed as quick as we can and start making some inroads."
The Hawks started well enough, drawing level at quarter-time, but a 10-0 run midway through the second quarter proved too big a jump for an undermanned squad to reel in.
"No question we had to move some pieces around and address the way we were going to play [without Ball]," Flinn said.
"We had tight good game plan but it's one thing to have a plan, it's another thing to execute it. I thought Brisbane did what they had to, they were aggressive in pushing us out of our spots.
"We were hovering around that 12-point mark for a long time and couldn't make any inroads into that. Every time we made a play they'd come down and make a big play.
"One thing I'm really proud of with this group, and I have been since I got the gig, is the way we fight and the way we train. We have that never say die attitude which is a typical thing coming from Wollongong, we know the challenges we face as a club.
"I was proud of the performance, no question about it, but we're 3-10 now. We're all pros and we're all competitive people and we need to start winning if we want to have a serious attempt at the fourth position [in the playoffs]."
Despite the run of outs the form of Sunday Dech - who had 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists - continues to be a silver lining for Flinn while previously injury-plagued youngster Angus Glover enjoyed a breakout performance with 17 points and six boards.
"I was really happy for Gus tonight, I thought he brought a lot of energy on the floor," Flinn said.
"We've probably got the youngest back court in the league and they're all on the right path and the right trajectory. I think the energy they bring at the defensive end of the floor is fantastic.
"They're going to have great careers, there's no question about that but closing out games when you're young... it's something you've got to go through to learn that stuff.
"We're sticking to our schemes, just at times it's [missing] that execution and having that belief in yourself to know you can make an impact in this league.
"That only comes through experience but we'll get there."