MARK Cardona’s Air21 debut will have to wait for a while as the newly-acquired guard suffered a sprained MCL (media collateral ligament) on his left knee that could sideline him for as long as four weeks.
The 6-foot-1 Cardona slipped on a wet spot during the tailend of the Express’ practice on Monday at the Gatorade Hoops Center, according to coach Franz Pumaren who described the unfortunate event as a “freak” accident.
Iornically, Pumaren is also the owner of the Hoops Center.
“Actually patapos na nga `yung practice eh nung madulas siya (Cardona). It was a freak accident,” Pumaren told Spin.ph on Friday with a tinge of regret.
“Sayang, Macmac has already adjusted well with the team and has been playing well in tune-up games, then he got injured.”
The Express mentor said Cardona's projected four-week absence will depend on his response to rehab at the moment.
“Yes, he’s doing rehab right now pero sa ngayon, may contusion pa siya sa knee. Kailangan lang ipapa-baba `yung swelling,” he added.
Cardona, who came over to Air21 from Meralco in a complicated three-team, multi-player trade last month, admitted looking forward to playing his first game with the Express, a team that has undergone roster changes in the offseason.
“Sayang nga eh. Basa kasi `yung sahig, may wet spot sa sahig nung practice,” said Cardona, who just turned 32 this month.
The man known as `Captain Hook’ for his patented teardrop shot won’t be around when Air21 goes up against Barako Bull when the two teams make their November 20 debut at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum for the new PBA season.
Cardona, a one-time Best Player of the Conference and Finals MVP, averaged 12.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists for the Meralco Bolts last season.