Time running out for injured Bullets star
Photo Source: AAP
Time is running out for Boomers forward Cameron Bairstow to prove his fitness for the Brisbane Bullets' NBL return.
Bullets and Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis is also sweating on guard Matthew Kenyon and small forward Reuben TeRangi (both ankle) ahead of the foundation club's long awaited comeback.
Three-time champions Brisbane mark their NBL return after a seven-year absence at home against reigning premiers Perth Wildcats on Thursday.
But it may be without their biggest names.
Former Chicago Bulls big man Bairstow will be given until the last minute to overcome a dislocated shoulder suffered at the Rio Olympics.
Lemanis said Bairstow along with Kenyon and TeRangi would be given until early next week to overcome ailments for the historic Wildcats stoush.
"I am not sure where they are at. Cameron is still in the process of recovery and will take part in light practice for the first time tomorrow," Lemanis told AAP.
"How he responds to that will determine the next stage.
"But it's a long season, 28 games. The most important thing we can do is get Cameron back playing at the best of ability for as long as we can."
The Bullets have already impressed with their depth, finishing with a 2-1 win-loss record at the recent pre-season Australian Basketball Challenge without Bairstow and TeRangi.
"There is not a lot of hero ball at the Bullets, it's about team play," Lemanis said.
But the Bullets mentor knew the real test lay ahead in their season opener.
"You can sense extra excitement at practice, some more smiles on faces - everyone is realising we are getting ready for the real thing now," he said.
"I think it is great for the competition the Bullets are back in the league.
"They hold a significant place in Australian basketball's landscape."
Brisbane have ditched their traditional blue and gold singlet for Queensland's maroon and gold colours this season.
The Bullets' return was a condition of a five-year broadcast deal signed with Fox Sports, who will broadcast every game.
Brisbane had folded in 2008, the year after their third title.
Southeast Queensland has not had an NBL team since the Gold Coast Blaze's 2012 demise.