Rampton To Butt Out Of Road Double
Wednesday October 26, 2005
THE struggling Wollongong Hawks have been dealt another body blow heading into this weekend's North Queensland road trip with centre Tony Rampton rated little chance of returning from a torn buttock muscle.Rampton missed Wollongong's 99-96 loss to Sydney on Saturday night and may be holed up in Wollongong when the team play Cairns on Friday night, before backing up against Townsville 24 hours later.The loss to Sydney dropped the Hawks out of the top eight with a worrying 3-6 record.Hawks coach Brendan Joyce said Rampton's injury was worse than initially thought."It is unlikely that Tony will be available for the road trip," he said."At the moment we are not sure how long he will be out for."At first we didn't think the injury was all that serious, the doctors and physios just thought it was a muscle strain."But then, after treatment, it got worse and scans showed that he had a tear."With Rampton expected to miss the road double and Andrew Rice only a slight chance of making a return, rookie big man Daniel George may get his first extended playing time since arriving at the club on a short-term deal to cover for Rice.Despite averaging just two minutes a game since arriving in Wollongong, George has impressed Joyce with his work on the training court."If our two bigs are both out, there will be an opportunity for him to play some minutes," Joyce said."He has certainly helped us as far as our preparation goes."We were hoping to get someone who could play some minutes for us, but we didn't need him the other night because Adam Ballinger played such a great game."As well as trying to piece together a game plan for this weekend, Joyce has also spoken with NBL officials about the $3000 fine he was given for his criticism of the refereeing after the loss to the Kings.Joyce is appealing the fine but said league rules prevented him from saying much more."I have had discussions with the NBL about it and put my case to them," he said."Before today, I hadn't had the chance to do that, now we just have to wait and see what happens from here."