AT a time when he has led Rain or Shine back in the hunt in the PBA Governors Cup Finals, star guard Paul Lee is in danger of missing the critical part of the best-of-five series against San Mig.
Lee skipped Rain or Shine's practice on Friday because of a badly swollen left ankle, which he hurt at the final 1:20 mark of overtime of Game Two after trying to go for a rebound and landing awkwardly following a collision with San Mig import Marquis Blakely.
The 24-year-old guard still managed to finish Rain or Shine's 89-87 victory, but later admitted that much of it was only because of pure adrenalin fuelled by his desire to put a clamp on rampaging San Mig guard Mark Barroca.
“Hindi ko na talaga kaya kagabi. Masakit na masakit siya, kaso pinilit ko talaga kasi nga walang ibang magbabantay kay Barroca,” said Lee.
The former Rookie of the Year was seen limping around the Rain or Shine dugout and in pain after the game. He was also seen taking an Arcoxia pain reliever given by therapist JD Calinawan.
See the video of the play and an interview with Paul Lee after the game:
The morning after, Lee was still in a lot of pain. Aside from the ankle, his right knee was also painful since it absorbed the whiplash of the fall, he said.
“Masakit. Hirap ako lumakad. Parang may mga karayom pag naititiklop ko. Masakit talaga,” he said.
Although he insisted the team is doing everything to make him fit enough to play in crucial Game Three of a best-of-five finals that is currently level at 1-1, Lee can only hope against hope.
“Sa ngayon talaga, kung tatanungin mo ko, baka 20-80 ang chance ko na maglaro. Kasi magang-maga pa eh. Nakita niyo naman siguro yung pagkakalipit niya,” he said.
“Halos tumiklop siya kasi sinalo rin ng ankle ko yung buong wait ko eh,” Lee added.
Even Rain or Shine’s therapist is not certain that the Gilas Pilipinas recruit will be ready for Game Three.
“Mahirap sabihin eh. Kasi day-to-day talaga ang status niya sa amin. May pain at may maga, so mahirap ipilit. Tapos hirap pa siya lumakad,” said Calinawan.
That Lee insisted on playing on after the awkward fall only made the injury worse, he added.
“Ang mabigat pa sa injury niya, hindi siya nagpapalit kagabi. Nilaro pa niya. Kaya hindi ko agad nalagyan ng ice,” added the Rain or Shine therapist.
The good news is, Calinawan said the injury will only need at least five days to heal.
“Hindi naman tatagal ng ganun, siguro kung may ma-miss man siya dahil hindi niya kaya, yung Game Three lang siguro … sana,” said Calinawan.