PETRON giant June Mar Fajardo is taking baby steps as he recovers from an MCL sprain on his knee and there is no definitely time frame for his return, Boosters coach Gee Abanilla said.
The sophomore sensation injured his knee in practice two days before the Christmas Day showdown with sister team Ginebra but was projected to return after a two-week recuperation.
Under that timeframe, the pride of Cebu is set to be back in time for the January 8 game against Barako Bull, but now coaches and doctors are unsure if he will be healthy enough to play in that game - or in the team's final three games of the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations.
"Hindi pa natin masabi kung kailan," said Abanilla on Tuesday. "He's still day to day. His capacity to practice will depend on his body's readiness."
According to Abanilla, the 6-10 slotman has avoided any physical activity since the injury, although the Boosters have taken a few days off for the New Year and won't return to practice until Thursday.
A major part of the problem is the behemoth's weight. Fajardo weighs close to 270 pounds, meaning there will be a lot of pressure on his knee once he resumes playing.
"Wala siyang activity. Total rest talaga," said a team insider.
Fajardo has already missed games against Ginebra and Talk 'N Text, but it won't be a surprise if he sits out the team's remaining games in the eliminations against Barako, GlobalPort (January 10), San Mig Coffee (January 15) and Meralco (Janury 18).
That means Petron, now in second place with an 8-2 (win-loss) card and 1-1 without its starting slotman, will most likely be without Fajardo and his career-best averages of 15.5 points, 17.5 rebounds, 3 blocks and 1.62 assists as it guns for one of two twice-to-beat spots in the playoffs.