WITHOUT a famously bottomless work ethic, Daniel Grida would never have played in the NBL. There's a sad irony in that fact given he got tripped up on the extra mile.
After a breakout rookie campaign with the Hawks, the 21-year-old endured a mixed fortunes in his sophomore season with the club, though he came on late to earn another Boomers singlet.
He was looking to carry that momentum into an off-season stint in the New Zealand NBL and, following that, a third NBL season wherever he might have landed.
Those wheels were in motion until they abruptly fell off last week on the day he heard the NZ NBL would not go ahead amid the coronavirus crisis.
It was news that would prompt most 21-year-old's to head to the pub. He probably now wishes he had instead of opting to put in some extra work on the practice floor.
"In New Zealand I'd be playing 30 minutes a game so I was super keen to get over there and just go as hard as I could," Grida told The Mercury.
"I was working out the morning I heard it wasn't going ahead. It was disappointing when I heard it was canned but I thought 'OK I can probably go and get a good burn in now' because I didn't need to stay ready for that.
"It was eating me up and I felt needed to get a good run in. That night I went back and practiced with my [SBL] league side Lakeside Lightning and about 20 minutes in I drove down the lane, jump-stopped and just landed really awkwardly on my knee.
"I knew it was pretty bad straight away."
Professional athletes naturally fear the worst in such a scenario, but the initial prognosis was not all that dire.
"I went to the physio and at first they thought it wasn't the ACL, they thought it was my PCL which is obviously a lot better and a much quicker recovery," he said.
"I was relieved and then I went and got the MRI. They called me that afternoon and asked 'are you sitting down' I just thought 'oh no'."
It's the call, and three letters - A-C-L, that all athletes dread. The situation was complicated further by the COVID-19 situation that's wreaked chaos across the country - not least its hospitals.
The demands on the system saw the government put a hold on all elective surgery, thankfully the day after Grida went under the knife.
It was a small slice of luck, but it will still leave him hobbling into the uncertainty of the NBL free agency that was due to open on March 30 but has now been pushed back to May at the earliest as all sports deal with the virus fall-out.
"Soon as I did it I thought 'oh man, I'm a free agent, why now?'" Grida said.
"It's not ideal but I guess, if there's a silver lining to what's going on, there's no basketball being played for a fair bit of time.
"With the stadiums shut there's no basketball being played anywhere, people can't practice. Everyone's sitting out waiting to see what happens anyway so I guess I'm no different at the moment."
They're uncertain times but there were no prizes for guessing the first number he dialed.
"I've been talking to [Angus] Glover a lot," Grida said.
"As soon as I did my knee I texted him straight away and said 'look, I've done something, I'm not sure what it is'. We've gone back and forth ever since.
"I think I texted him at about 3am last night so it's already on."
It makes sense given the well-publicised path Glover has walked - and largely limped - from three career-threatening ACL injuries to a maiden Boomers call-up last season.
Grida said watching his good mate's comeback tale was inspiring enough, but he'll lean on it even harder now as he contemplates his own return from the same injury.
"I've been with Glover for three years almost, I was with him at the "Institute [of Sport] and saw him in a really bad way there," Grida recalls.
"Then I saw him hurt it again. To get back to where he is now, it's amazing what he's done. Hopefully I can do the same thing, hopefully not as many times though."
For his part, Glover is more than willing to return the favour, should Grida return to the Hawks or not.
"I was very upset when I heard, I think I was one of the first to know other than his family because, being through what I've been through, I think he wanted some clarity on things," Glover said.
"I'm going to be by his side no matter where he is doing his rehab. Whatever he needs I'm going to be there for him, he's one of my best mates.
"He did the same for me. Even though he didn't exactly know what I was going through he was always there for me if I wanted to rant about not being able to train or whatever else.
"That's where I want to help out if I can. He's got someone he can lean on and ask questions and I'm happy help out in any way.
"Anyone that goes through this process really understands how much your body can do and how far you can push yourself. With his work ethic, he's already on the way to coming back bigger, better and stronger."
Amid his testing times, Glover received a major boost when the Hawks took a leap of faith in signing him on a two-year deal before he'd even got back on the floor.
There were no guarantees he would, but he's repaid the club's faith in spades and is looking to take that further next season. There isn't always room for sentiment in professional sport, but he hopes Grida can be afforded the same opportunity.
"At the end of the day it's not my call and there's a lot that goes into it but I think, no matter what, he needs to be [in Wollongong]. BaiMed's one of the best in Australia with their ACL rehab or any kind of injury.
"We've always spoken about playing together for a long, long time so I'm really hoping he can hang around."
The Hawks won't be immune to the complications the virus has caused the free agency landscape, but general manager Mat Campbell said the door is certainly still ajar.
"It's no secret he's been part of the long-term plan for the Hawks and still is from my perspective," Campbell said.
"I was really gutted for him when I hard the news. It's been a real solid campaign for him the last two years and you keep forgetting he's still only 21.
"You look back at a young Glen Saville at that age and see a lot of similarities. He's had his surgery and, if he does sign with us he'll be in there with BaiMed who are the proven best at getting people back from ACL's.
"We'd been talking with his agent before that and from our point of view, he's definitely still in those sights."
He remains hopeful he can return to Wollongong but, wherever he lands, Grida is confident the self-belief that took him to the NBL can carry him back to it.
"I'm obviously not not sure how much I can play this coming season, I might not get back at all, so it'll be interesting to see who wants to take a chance on me," he said.
"The Hawks have been great since I've done the injury, they've been hitting me up every day. I love Wollongong and I think us young boys could really build something over the years at the Hawks.
"If I go back there and we all stick around for a while I think we can really get something good going which is really exciting, especially in a town like Wollongong that really gets behind you.
"This is just a speed bump. I had to go through a lot coming up through juniors and stuff so this is just another little test to get through. I'll be back and it'll be all smiles. I've got no doubt."