Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Won't Take Risks with Injured Duo, Insists Fab; Eagles Sweating over Fitness of Martin and Defoe for BBL Trophy Final

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Won't Take Risks with Injured Duo, Insists Fab; Eagles Sweating over Fitness of Martin and Defoe for BBL Trophy Final

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner Sports Writer stuart.rayner@ncjmedia.co.uk

FAB FLOURNOY has promised he will be taking no risks with his line-up for Saturday's British Basketball League Trophy final.

The Eagles face rivals Leicester Riders with Scott Martin and Darius Defoe doubtful with back and hamstring injuries respectively.

Flournoy is hopeful both will be fit for the Glasgow showpiece - but insists neither will be sent out half-fit.

By their own lofty standards, the Eagles have stuttered since the pair picked up their problems. Worcester Wolves ended their unbeaten season in January, and Leicester's 85-73 success at Sport Central a week later means the sides are effectively level pegging in what had previously looked a one-horse title race.

Sheffield Sharks were beaten at the weekend, but only by two points.

The temptation must be to rush the pair back, but Flournoy will resist it.

"I'm hoping they'll both be back," he said. "But it's day-to-day.

"With Scott it's his back and he moved around a little bit and trained a little bit so we're hoping it doesn't flare up.

"With Defoe it's a hamstring, and if you come back too early you can reinjure yourself and make it worse. We're being assured that we'll get him back as quickly as we possibly can."

Martin has been a key part of the side which has won the last five BBL competitions up for grabs, while Defoe has 23 winners' medals from his 13 years on Tyneside.

That will not come into Flournoy's thinking, though.

"It's never difficult for me as a coach," he said. "If a player's injured, they're injured. Being a player-coach I understand that.

"I would never put a player's livelihood and ability to play at risk. In that sense it's just a game, even though it's more than a game.

"You're talking about their livelihoods, their future, here, there or wherever. …

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