MINER Kris Blicavs is facing back surgery and a season on the sidelines to recover.
Blicavs will meet with a surgeon mid next month for a complex lower back injury – including a compressed disc, a herniated disc and stress reactions – and, should he choose to go ahead with surgery, will have at least 12 weeks recovery before he can return to the floor.
The alternatives are to let his back heal naturally, which could mean recovery time in years, or to try playing heavily taped, which could aggravate the injury.
It is a frustrating scenario for the 25-year-old, who had been keen to step up his game in a second season with the GMHBA Ballarat Miners in this South East Australian Basketball League season.
Blicavs, an energetic personality about the Minerdome, said it was tough watching the Miners’ season opener against Mount Gambier last Friday night and was even tougher now knowing he would probably miss playing in a long season ahead.
But his basketball would have to “go on the backburner” while he focused on recovery.
“Personally, I’m just looking forward to a good night’s sleep,” Blicavs said.
“Most people would see this injury as a massive blow. It is, but in the grand scheme of things it could be a whole lot worse.
“Basketball is one thing. I’ll be back bigger and faster and stronger next season.”
Blicavs said the injury stemmed from hitting a box jump and landing the wrong way in the pre-season and was compounded by general overuse and training.
He sought advice from physiotherapists but said a telling sign came a couple of weeks ago in the lengths he would go to in needling and taping to get through a training session.
Blicavs knew his body was not up to playing.
Instead, he plans to absorb everything he can on the bench this SEABL season from Miners’ head coach David Flint and assistant Eric Hayes.
“My basketball IQ, my understanding of the game, will grow and while I’d rather be out there, this is a massive chance to learn,” Blicavs said.
“I’ll still be out there every game and every training session motivating and helping the younger guys develop. I have great pride in my ability to motivate and encourage young players.
“My energy levels won’t diminish even though I won’t be playing.”
Blicavs said the support from his family, girlfriend and team was incredible, not to mention the secondary school students in his physical education classes, who he says have been fantastic at picking up his instruction.