Perth Wildcats co-captain Brad Robbins is all but certain to miss the opening weeks of the NBL season after being ordered to rest his injured right wrist for three months.
Robbins had surgery to repair tendon damage in the wrist a fortnight ago and faces a lengthy stint on the sidelines, placing him in doubt for the season-opening grudge match against New Zealand in Auckland on October 5.
Robbins revealed he had injections to mask pain in the wrist throughout the 2011-12 season, which ended with a heartbreaking 2-1 grand final series defeat to the Breakers.
It was believed rest over the off-season would cure the injury, however it flared up again at training last month to the point where surgery was the only conceivable option.
A return in early November appears most likely at this stage but a cautious Robbins remains hopeful of recovering faster than expected.
“The surgeon said three months and he said if he was generous I could maybe come back before the three months,” Robbins said.
“He said it really all depends on my recovery and how the tendon heals up. It was pretty banged-up inside and it was quite a big operation.
“My goal is for game one, but I really don’t want to rush it. I’m at an age now where you could rush an injury and end up missing more of the season than you’d hoped.
“I’m going to give it a good three months’ rest and if I’m back for game one – great. But if I’m not, I’m looking towards the second half of the year.”
The wrist will be in a splint for at least six weeks, with Robbins restricted to a schedule of running, pilates and lower-body weights.
“While the boys are training I’ll be either doing a running session outside or on the other court doing some laps,” Robbins said.
“I can still do some ball-handling with my left hand and some spot shooting as long as I don’t use my right (hand).”
Matt Knight’s recovery from shoulder surgery has gone to plan and all contracted players, bar Robbins, are scheduled to on court when the Wildcats’ official pre-season training campaign begins on August 20.
Meanwhile, the NBL pre-season tournament is expected to be held in Melbourne from October 20-22, though plans are yet to be finalised.