'Air Force' Chris Ellis grounded, out for rest of season for Ginebra due to ankle injury 
Ginebra high-flyer Chris Ellis went under the knife for an ankle injury last month. Jerome Ascano

HIGH-FLYING Barangay Ginebra wingman Chris Ellis has been grounded for the rest of the PBA season after undergoing surgery on his right ankle.

Ellis, the 2013 PBA Slam Dunk champion, went under the knife on April 23 at the Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Mandaluyong and new Ginebra coach Frankie Lim ruled out a return for 'Air Force Ellis' this season.

Orthopedic surgeon Rich Passion performed the procedure on the 26-year-old Fil-Am.

“Safe to say, Chris will be out for the season,” new Ginebra coach Frankie Lim told Spin.ph, just before his much-awaited coaching debut against Alaska on Friday.

Lim said he is not in a rush to activate Ellis after his recovery period in the Governors Cup, saying he would rather see Ginebra’s sixth overall pick in the 2012 PBA Draft fully healthy and ready to play come next season.

“Kasi dumating man siya, malayo hahabulin niya eh (in terms of conditioning). He’s been out for so many weeks and then, he had an operation sa paa, so it will take a while,” said the Ginebra coach.

"Tingin ko, pang-All-Filipino na 'yun," Lim added.

Ellis has become a part-time starter and fan favorite in his first two seasons at Ginebra, but averaged career-low numbers of 4.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in 13 minutes of action in the first two conferences this season.

Lim is confident Ellis’ spot can be ably filled by his guard-heavy roster that has since been boosted by the acquisition of Solomon Mercado last Monday.

Other than Mercado, Ginebra’s bevy of guards also include LA Tenorio, Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand, Josh Urbiztondo and Eman Monfort.

Ginebra’s American import Orlando Johnson can also play the wing position.

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