ADELAIDE coach CJ Bruton has ruled Kai Sotto out for the remainder of the NBL Blitz preseason games, opting to prepare the Filipino wunderkind for the 36ers season opener next week.
"Right now, I don't think we'll be seeing him anymore between now and the rest of the preseason games," he said in a press conference hosted by TapDMV on Thursday.
"It's more of just managing him and making sure that he's healthy and able to do everything and get across the line of ticking all the boxes that we want every player on our roster to do."
Sotto has only played once in these preseason games, registering seven points and five rebounds in 20 minutes of play in Adelaide's 91-87 overtime win against the Cairns Taipans back on Nov. 14.
He sat out the next few games as the 36ers went 3-0 so far in the NBL Blitz owing to 'soreness' as Bruton continues to shuffle his roster.
Although there's really nothing serious with the situation concerning the 7-foot-3 center, Bruton is taking a more cautious approach as he wants Sotto to be at 100-percent for his official National Basketball League (NBL) debut on Dec. 3 against the Perth Wildcats on the road at RAC Arena.
"I want to make sure that everyone is healthy, and obviously, we'll have that chat [with our medical team] along the way. So managing everyone is important for us, caring as a coach, as you would as a parent or a sibling, or making sure that every member of your team is fully healthy and are able to be at an elite level and giving their best, that's what we're asking him," he said.
Kai set for Dec. 3 debut
Adelaide has two more preseason games left in its schedule, against the Perth Wildcats on Friday at Elphin Sports Centre and versus the Brisbane Bullets this Sunday at MyState Bank Arena.
The 36ers, though, is keeping Sotto locked in as he continues to work with the coaches before his much-awaited league debut.
"Every day, he keeps on putting in the work with our strength and conditioning coach and then when he's out practicing, it's competing and doing everything that's asked of him as well," Bruton said.
"Kai's approach has been amazing. Being a young kid to adapt and learn on the fly, he's grown leaps and bounds from where he was at the start. And I'm sure that as you all are so proud of him up to this point, you're gonna get to be prouder of him as he keeps continuing his growth along the way and he's only going to help the 36ers and our franchise and put in a place to contend for a championship."