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Knight a chance for NBL finals' game three

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/03/2017 Justin Chadwick

Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson says Matt Knight is only a 50-50 chance to play in Sunday's game three of the NBL grand final series against Illawarra, and the star forward might even need to wear Jonathan Thurston-style headgear.

Knight was concussed by a stray elbow from teammate Casey Prather during Wednesday night's 89-77 win over the Hawks in Wollongong.

It is the second heavy head knock Knight has suffered in the past month, with the 31-year-old forced to miss a game against Cairns after copping a head knock two days earlier against Brisbane.

Worryingly, Knight's history of head knocks stretches much further back.

In 2014, he was concussed twice in two weeks.

The Wildcats lead the best-of-five grand final series 2-0, giving them the luxury of resting Knight on Sunday if the big man isn't 100 per cent fit.

Gleeson said he would take a no-risks approach, with the club's medical staff to have a 100 per cent say in Knight's availability.

But if Knight is deemed fit to play, he might look a little different.

"If he plays, he might wear a helmet," Gleeson said on Friday.

"Jonathon Thurston from the (NRL's) Cowboys, I might give him a call and see if he can ship one over.

"I'm sure the Western Force have got a couple over the road as well."

Knight will train on Saturday, with the club's medical staff to make a final call after that.

"If there's any dizziness or light-headedness, we won't risk it at all," Gleeson said.

"It's 50-50 at the moment. Hopefully, he can play but there's no guarantee he can.

"The first thing is the health. You don't want anything to go wrong with that, and we'll do everything we possibly can to make sure he's OK."

Gleeson admits he is concerned by Knight's history of head knocks, and he'll sit down with the player after the season to discuss the issue more thoroughly.

But for now, the Wildcats are fully focused on securing their eighth NBL title.

The Wildcats are hot favourites to wrap up the series on their home court in game three.

But Gleeson is taking nothing for granted, and says he expects the Hawks to come out all guns blazing in their bid to keep their Championship hopes alive.

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