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Stockton in doubt for NBL Breakers

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/01/2017

David Stockton of the New Zealand Breakers. © Morne de Klerk/Getty Images David Stockton of the New Zealand Breakers. The New Zealand Breakers travel to Cairns for a key NBL match-up against the Taipans unsure whether point guard David Stockton will be able to play,

The 25-year-old American lasted barely two minutes into the Breakers' 85-80 loss to the Sydney Kings last week before he was sidelined after aggravating a lower back injury.

Coach Paul Henare says Stockton will make the long trip to Cairns, but it's unclear exactly how much game time he'll be able to manage.

"The initial response after the Sydney game was he could be a couple of weeks," Henare said.

"He seems to have freed up this week, and he got through training OK today. We'll take him up there and see how he goes."

Centre Alex Pledger will mark his 200th game for the Breakers in Cairns - the fifth player to achieve that milestone for the club.

Henare, who played 250 games for the Breakers, says Pledger's contribution has been key over the years.

"When he's cementing our defence by being that rim protector at the back and he's rebounding well, and playing with confidence at the offensive end, he's a hell of a player," he said.

"He's 29 years old at the moment, and a lot of big guys get into their prime around that age so I think we're still going to see some improvements and some really good basketball out of him."

With the Breakers sitting seventh on the ladder, and the business end of the season rapidly approaching, Pledger isn't too interested in celebrating milestones.

"We're at that time of the year, the last 10 games, and we'll probably need to win six or seven of those at least to give ourselves a shot," he said.

"The Taipans are a team we haven't played too well against this year, but hopefully we'll be able to go up there and put in a good performance."

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