FEELING better now, injured star Paul Lee disclosed he’s ready to return to active duty in time for Rain or Shine’s potentially fiery match up against San Miguel Beer in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup next week.
The combo guard has not suited up for the Elasto Painters in the team’s first five games in the mid-season tournament, including Friday’s 121-94 rout of NLEX, due to a partial tear on both the lateral meniscus and ilitotibial band of his left knee.
But Lee said he’s doing fine now after more than a month of rest since playing his last outing with the Elasto Painters during Game Five of the Philippine Cup semifinals against San Miguel.
“Mas ok yung nararamdaman ko ngayon,” said Lee after Rain or Shine arrested its three-game skid with its 27-point blowout of the Road Warriors. “Maganda naman kasi yung kinalabasan ng therapy and strengthening ko.”
The Gilas Pilipinas mainstay re-injured the same knee that kept him mostly out of the all-Filipino conference when he rushed his return to play in the semifinals against the Beermen.
Guiao however, said the team has now given Lee ample time needed to fully recover from the injury.
“Binigay na nga namin lahat ng time needed. Minadali namin siya last semis so we didn’t want to commit the same mistake,” said the Rain or Shine coach. “We took a gamble, we probably lost that gamble because it needed more time for him to recover.
“No regrets (because) he also wanted to play in the semis and make a contribution but it just worsened his injury.”
Lee also knows the danger of hurting the same knee again, but is leaving everything up to Guiao on how the coach will use him during games.
“Feeling ko hindi naman ako bibiglain ni coach Yeng. Sundut-sundot lang naman ito unlike nung nangyari the last time,” said Lee, who has already been given the go-signal by the doctor to play.
Lee added he just needs to practice full-time with the team to get back his feel for the game.
“Kailangan ko lang naman is full practice with the team, para malaman ko paano magre-recover yung katawan ko after practice,” he said.
Guiao assured Lee he’ll break Lee gently.
“Now we learned our lesson, we’re not forcing anything. We just want the doctor and him to make that decision. But he’ll most likely make it on Friday,” said the Rain or Shine coach.