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NBL's Wildcats need to lift without Martin

AAP logoAAP 8/11/2016 By Justin Chadwick

The Perth Wildcats will pin their faith on a development player to fill the void left by injured skipper Damian Martin as the club attempts to keep their record NBL finals streak alive.

The Wildcats were dealt a huge blow on Monday when it was revealed Martin would miss between 10-12 weeks after tearing a ligament in his left knee during last week's win over Adelaide.

With Jarrod Kenny still sidelined with a groin injury, development player Corban Wroe will be handed the reins at point guard.

The Wildcats, who currently sit in second spot with a 5-2 record, are aiming to qualify for a world record 31st straight playoff berth.

But with Martin sidelined until the final few rounds, coach Trevor Gleeson admitted it would be a major challenge.

"You can cover one injury at point guard. But to have two injuries at point guard gives you a bit of a handicap you have to overcome," Gleeson said on Tuesday.

"Damo's the best defensive player in the league. You could see when he went off, Jerome Randle's eyes lit up.

"And there'll be a few other guys in this league thinking 'Damian Martin's not playing, I might be able to get some scores'.

"So we have to do a better job defensively.

"Damo's our engine. He gets us going defensively. He hustles play. He wins the 50-50 balls, and he puts his body on the line."

Wroe will lead the team's offence in Sunday's home clash with NZ, but Kenny is a chance to return for next week's clash with Sydney.

Wroe played 19 games for the Wildcats last season.

But he averaged just 0.89 points per game in 5.5 minutes per fixture.

Despite that return, Gleeson will stick with Wroe instead of signing up an injury replacement player.

Martin won't require surgery, and he made a surprise appearance at training on Tuesday to support his teammates.

"It was funny. He took his shirt off, and he had his Wildcats singlet underneath," Gleeson said.

"He's hurting inside, but he doesn't show it. He's unified with the group. He's talking to the players out there and helping them a long."

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