ALL Alex Mallari wants to do is to play. Never mind if the left foot he injured in a tune-up game some three weeks ago is still bothering him.
“I don’t want to take time out anymore. It’s killing me,” said the Star wingman.
After sitting out the first seven games of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Mallari was back in a Hotshots uniform and got to test his hurting left foot in a 127-100 blowout of the depleted Globalport Batang Pier.
Up and down the 6-foot-3 Mallari ran the floor at the Mall of Asia Arena, in a few instances anchoring the Hotshots’ transition plays with gusto the way he usually does before he went down with a freak injury during a pre-conference tune-up game against Barangay Ginebra.
The native of Long Beach, California played for 15 minutes in his first official game this year (the Hotshots were eliminated by Barangay Ginebra in the Philippine Cup playoffs on Christmas Day) and finished with eight points, two rebounds, and two assists.
Truth be told, the injury hasn’t totally healed yet, according to Mallari, who turns 29 this Saturday.
“My foot still kinda hurt. It’s still hurting up to this point. I’m just kind of playing through it right now,” said Mallari, adding he forgets about the pain once he finally gets into the flow of the game.
The first round pick of Petron (2012) referred to the injury as something ‘tricky.’
“It wasn’t the ankle, it’s the foot. It’s more like a ligament sprain, so every time I put pressure on the outside (of my foot) it really hurts,” he said.
Recalling how he got the injury, Mallari said he went for a lay–up against the Kings, then kind of ‘tweaked’ it when he went down, and heard a pop.
“And the rest is history,” he added as he tried to make things a little bit light despite the obvious pain.
Mallari disclosed he’s not supposed to play until a couple of more weeks, meaning he won’t see action until the playoffs should the 4-4 Hotshots make it to the next round.
“But it’s one of those injuries where it never goes away, so you kind of just play through it,” said the four-year Fil-Am guard.
At the moment, he said he’s 70 to 80 percent fit to play, and hopes to get better as the tournament wears on – the injury notwithstanding.
Not one who's fond of taking pain killers, Mallari said he hopes to get a second opinion on the injury once he goes to the US in the off-season.
For the moment, he hopes he’ll not aggravate the injury now that he’s back in the Hotshots’ active roster.
And hopefully too, the injury won’t require any surgery.
“I don’t think so,” he said when asked about the prospect of going under the knife. “I hope not. I really, really hope not.”