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Mitchell makes light of gruesome injury

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/01/2017

Laughter may be the best medicine for New Zealand Breakers forward Akil Mitchell who suffered a gruesome eye injury in their NBL defeat to Cairns.

The American import collapsed on the court in the final quarter after contesting a rebound with Taipans centre Nnanna Egwu resulted in his left eyeball coming out of its socket.

The game, which the Breakers lost 94-81, was halted for 15 minutes and Mitchell was helped from the court and taken to hospital with some of his teamates visibly upset.

He was treated and discharged with Breakers general manger Dillon Boucher saying early reports were that the injury isn't as serious as first thought.

Mitchell made light of the injury in a tweet which began with an image of two eyes ".. too soon? Lol thanks for all the love, well wishes, and prayers tonight. I'm home and seeing fine, more tests tomorrow".

The NBL said Mitchell's eyeball had been relocated into the eye socket and any long term impact was yet to be determined.

Breakers assistant coach Mike Fitchett said the league gave the side the option of postponing the match but the players, urged on by Mitchell, chose to play on.

"Akil said to Pauly (coach Paul Henare) make sure we win the rebound battle.

"Obviously it's very difficult when you see something like that to carry on but the players were happy for us to carry on," he said.

Mitchell was easily the Auckland team's best performer before the injury with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Breakers struggled to lift after his exit, with an eight-point deficit ballooning out to 15, from which they never recovered.

They are now third on the league table while Cairns are seventh.

The Breakers are away to Sydney on Sunday while Cairns host last-placed Brisbane on the same day.

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