BARANGAY Ginebra will continue to miss Greg Slaughter for the first part of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup due to a severe sprain he has had since late in the Philippine Cup.
The Gin Kings star big man missed the last game of the eliminations and the entire playoffs of the all-Filipino conference after hurting his left ankle in practice, causing him to play only seven games last conference where he was also hampered by a strained hamstring in the regular season.
Gin Kings coach Tim Cone on Saturday confirmed that Slaughter will be out for at least another month.
“Well, I guess the secret's out that Greg's gonna be out for another four or five weeks, at least, so he's gonna miss I say at least half of the eliminations,” Cone said after their tune-up game against TNT KaTropa at the Upper Deck gym.
Slaughter, who averaged 16.7 points on 48.4-percent shooting, 10.6 boards, 3.3 assists and 1.7 blocks in 32 minutes in seven games last conference, showed there was still swelling on his foot even after a month since sustaining the injury.
“This is the worst sprain I’ve ever had,” the Filipino-American cager said. “It’s the first sprain I’ve had where my whole foot swelled up, and there’s bruise on my toes.”
While eager to return, Slaughter would rather take it slow to surely get back to top shape.
“If I had to force the playoffs now, I could do that, but since we’re entering a new conference, talking with coach Tim and the medical staff, I’m on a four-week program right now, I just want to make sure that I’m entering this conference one-hundred percent,” the 29-year-old cager said.
“I don’t want to get nagging injuries that could lead to something bigger,” he added.
Cone stuck to the positives with the rest of his team in their buildup for the midseason tournament.
“Aside from that (Slaughter injury), I think we're moving well,” the league’s most successful coach said. “Japeth's shown great improvement, you saw it last conference, and we're used to playing a little bit small with a smaller import so having Shane is an added stretch for us.”
Cone was referring to stand-in import Shane Edwards, who blew by TNT counterpart Jeremy Tyler for the go-ahead slam in their 100-98 win in their exhibition.
“He causes a lot of mismatch problems whether the imports gonna guard him or the locals gonna guard him so and he was very successful here with Alaska and that's why we got attracted to him,” Cone said of Edwards.
“We’re gonna have some really good strengths and definite weaknesses because we don't have a big guy until Greg's back. But we think we can do stuff, we think we can compete,” he added.