THE BALLARAT Miners have been dealt a huge blow ahead of their round four South East Australian Basketball League clash with the Sandringham Sabres, with big man Chris Smith set to see prolonged time on the sidelines due to a calf injury.
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Smith received the injury in the Miners’ first game in Canberra against Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence last week, and was forced to sit out the entirety of their subsequent clash with the Canberra Gunners.
The news comes on the back of a successful trip to the capital which saw the Miners take home the points against both Canberra sides.
Ballarat Basketball elite teams administrator Melissa Thomas said the 208 centimetre player had been on crutches earlier in the week and could miss a substantial part of the season.
“It could be anywhere between two and eight weeks (on the sidelines) and it’s the kind of injury which is easy to redo,” Thomas said. “But he will be at least two weeks out.”
The Miners will go in as favourites against the Sabres who are yet to win a match in their three outings in 2016.
The Ballarat Rush continue to have their own injury struggles, with co-captain Kerryn Harrington still sidelined by a hand injury sustained earlier in the year. The co-captain is yet to play a match this season.
Thomas said Harrington had made steady progress over the last few weeks and would look to return to the side for their May 1 encounter with Brisbane.
“She’s definitely been missed. She wasn’t able to come on the trip to Canberra where she would have been useful, and she probably would have added a few points against Bendigo (in round one).”
The Rush will be keen to take the points against the Lady Sabres after winning just one of their opening three games in 2016. They too will go in as favourites against a side yet to register a win.
“If we keep our structures there’s no reason both sides can’t come away with the win,” Thomas said.
Action kicks off at the Minerdome from 6pm on Saturday.
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