It is the most talked about knee in Geraldton sport, but it looks likely the Sun City Plumbing Buccaneers might have to make a championship run without star import Odartey Blankson.
The American has left the door slightly ajar for a return to the Buccs line-up, despite doctors in America telling the 31-year-old another knee injury could end his basketball career.
Doctors have told the forward, who led the Buccs in scoring before leaving for rehab in his home country six weeks ago, he needs a couple more weeks to make a final decision on this season.
“The problem is we do not have a few weeks,” Buccs coach Mark Heron said.
“We have signed J (Jerrah Young) for the remainder of the season.”
Heron said no concrete deadline had been set for Blankson to make up his mind on returning or staying.
“If we get through the first round of the finals and Odartey says before a semifinal or grand final that he feels 100 per cent and is ready to go, it is hard to say no to a player of his quality,” he said.
“His knee is not recovering as well as we, and he, would have hoped.
“We will plan around having Jerrah for the rest of the season now.”
Blankson has been in constant contact with the Buccs organisation.
Heron said he is doing everything possible to get back to Geraldton.
“He is definitely frustrated and said he loved his time here,” Heron said.
“One of the driving factors has been the fact he wants to win his first professional championship.”
It has been a tough four-week period for the Buccs with three losses in the past month, all on their home court.
Blankson’s scoring ability, both close to the basket and long range, is something the Buccs are missing.
His ability to post up defenders and slow the game down when the Buccs really need a basket was his greatest contribution.
Their grip on the minor premiership has loosened with Rockingham Flames and Lakeside Lightning possibilities to take top spot before the season ends in two weeks.
Adding to the Buccs’ headaches is Aaron Ralph, who is just a 50/50 chance to play this weekend against the South West Slammers and Willetton Tigers.
He is also struggling with a sore knee.