BARANGAY Ginebra star Mark Caguioa has suffered a partial sprain on the MCL (medial cruciate ligament) on his left knee and faces a spell on the sidelines at a time when the Kings are on a roll in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.
Top orthopedic surgeon Raul Canlas confirmed the findings on Saturday after a series of tests on the reigning MVP and league scoring leader at the Sta. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City.
A source told Spin.ph that Caguioa's injury was initially assessed as a Grade 1 MCL injury, meaning Canlas will re-evaluate his status after a week.
Canlas nonetheless immediately put an immobilizer on Caguioa’s left knee, which will support and at the same time protect the injury from unnecessary and harmful movements.
“Sa ngayon kasi pinagpapahinga lang siya ng pitong araw, tapos balik kami kay Doc (Canlas) sa Sabado,” said the source. “Pero one week na naka-immobilizer sa tuhod si Mark."
The Grade 1 classification on the MCL injury is actually a relief for Ginebra officials who feared the worst after Caguioa slipped and landed awkwardly on the floor late in the team's 84-81 win over Meralco on Friday night.
A Grade 2 and 3 sprain could have automatically meant at least a three-week layoff for the league superstar.
“Atleast yun ang maganda, one week (lang ang layoff ni Caguioa) then day-to-day ang status niya. Hindi yung mas nakakatakot na fixed six weeks,” added the Spin.ph source.
The same source also said Canlas has already ruled out an ACL test for Caguioa.
“Awa ng Diyos, walang ACL. Kasi hindi namaga yung tuhod niya," he said.
Still, the injury is a major blow to Ginebra's playoff hopes in the mid-season tournament, coming at a time when Caguioa had led a mini-revival for the team with three successive wins after a 1-5 start.
The bad timing of the injury was not lost on Caguioa, who, team insiders said, already felt so bad as he limped off the floor on Friday night.
“Doc, bakit ngayon pa? Ang sama ng timing nung injury ko," a source quoted Caguioa as saying.
He added: “Iiling iling talaga si Mark, ang sama ng loob niya. Pakiramdam ko nga parang gustong umiyak sa sama ng loob sa nangyari sa kanya.
“Kaya we just told him: ‘Mark, it can happen even to the very best. Nakita ko gustong gusto mong ipanalo yung team, yan (injury) ang setback minsan.'
“Hindi na lang naming pinahalata sa kanya, pero nalungkot din kami. Imagine, nasa peak siya ngayon ng performance. We know he wants to win, lalo pa ngayon na the team is still struggling.
“Siguro we will just ask fans to pray harder and hope that 'the heart of this team' will be back in time for the more important games of Ginebra."