MAGNOLIA import Nick Rakocevic underwent an MRI on Thursday on the right knee which he hurt late in the Hotshots’ PBA Commissioner’s Cup game against TNT at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The result of the test is still pending, but Rakocevic and the rest of the Hotshots are keeping their fingers crossed no serious injury was sustained especially with the team off to a hot start in the mid-season conference.
While waiting for the result, sources said Magnolia officials have asked around for a possible replacement import, sources said.
The Hotshots fought back for a 94-92 win over the Tropang Giga behind two pressure-packed throws converted by Paul Lee in the final four seconds of the highly-emotional encounter.
They are now at 3-0 for a share of the lead with idle guest team Bay Area Dragons.
But the comeback victory came with a price as Rakocevic went down with the injury at the 6:40 mark and the Hotshots holding a slim 76-75 lead.
“I don’t really know. I turned my back and I felt somebody crashing to my knee, and like I felt a little twist on my knee and discomfort right away,” said the Serbian import.
It was actually teammate Jackson Corpuz who fell on Rakocevic’s knee after the Magnolia guard was pushed by TNT’s Roger Pogoy.
The 24-year-old Serbian crumpled on the floor in pain and stayed there for a few minutes before being helped to the bench by his teammates.
He never returned to the game and finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds.
“I got up and tried to put weight on it. It just didn’t feel right so the coach told me to take a rest and sit down,” said Rakocevic.
But even without its main man in the middle, the Hotshots managed to put the win away behind Abueva, Lee, Corpuz, Mark Barroca, and Aris Dionisio.
“I’m proud of my teammates, they came back, they fought without me,” he said. “It’s a great win for us, and I’m just really proud of them.”
Rakocevic walked out of the Big Dome on his own, but with an obvious limp as he favored his hurting knee.
“It was a long game, a lot of adrenaline is going on, a lot of things hurt, but right now, it’s painful, but it could just be because it’s a long game, and I took a lot of hits,” he said.
So now the waiting game begins.
“If there’s nothing wrong, will do the treatment and everything necessary and get back to play next week,” said Rakocevic.
The import will have the benefit of a few days’ rest as the Hotshots won’t be playing again until Wednesday when they take on the NLEX Road Warriors.