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PBA: Painters brace for worst on injured players

ROS Gabe Norwood blocks SMB's June Mar Fajardo  in the 4th quarter of Game 3 in their semifinal game. ROS won 111-106. Photo by Ernie U. SarmientoRain or Shine is hoping for the best as the team awaits the result of the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) test on the injured left leg of second year guard Jericho Cruz.

The 6-1 Cruz twisted his left leg late in Game 3 of the team’s semifinal series opposite defending champion San Miguel Beer in the Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup last Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“No results yet,” a team official told The Bulletin yesterday.

“The initial diagnosis is hyper-extended knee, but the MRI will determine the severity of the injury. It could be as simple as strained ligament to – worst case – torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament),” added the source.

Rain or Shine coaching staff led by Yeng Guiao is expected to have the MRI result today.

According to the same source, a strained ligament may result to two weeks of recovery – depending on a person’s tolerance to pain – while an ACL injury requires surgery and six to eight months recovery period.

The injury happened with five seconds left to play with RoS ahead, 107-106.

After a rebound by Cruz against SMB’s 6-10 center June Mar Fajardo, the former Adamson star tried to run a fast break play. A hard bump by Lassiter, however, had Cruz landing awkwardly as he twisted his left leg.

Cruz grimaced in pain as he held on to his knee for several minutes before he was taken to the locker room on a stretcher. Cruz was brought at Cardinal Santos where the MRI was performed immediately.

RoS is already without third year center Raymond Almazan, who suffered a sprained right ankle when he accidentally stepped on the foot of Jewel Ponferada during the team’s practice session last Friday.

“The level of Raymond’s injury is ‘high level’ and that means, it’s not just the ligament, but ligament and muscle,” said the source. “It’s still swollen, and the recovery period is at least two weeks.”