Sidelined: Injured Fajardo rues Gilas absence
MANILA, Philippines – As Gilas Pilipinas resumes its quest for a World Cup berth, June Mar Fajardo would have to just watch from the sidelines.
The reigning four-time PBA Most Valuable Player rued that his shin injury would prevent him from suiting up for the national team when the second round of the Asian Qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup unfolds this month.
"Sayang hindi ako makakalaro," he told reporters after witnessing his San Miguel topple NLEX in its Governors' Cup opener on Saturday, September 1.
(It's unfortunate that I won't be able to play.)
"Pero wala akong magagawa doon kasi hindi ko pwedeng ipilit eh. 'Yun ang advice ng doctor."
(But I can't do anything because I can't force it. That's against the advice of my doctor.)
The Cebuano giant – one of the few players who was not suspended following the Philippines-Austria brawl – was groomed to match seven-footer Hamed Haddadi when Gilas collides with Iran on September 13.
He would have also been a valuable asset against Qatar, which the Filipinos will host on September 17 in a closed-door match to cap off the fourth window of the Qualifiers.
Through six games in the last three windows, Fajardo averaged 12.8 points and 3.8 rebounds.
But he hasn't played basketball since the discovery of his injury, which started from a bruise a few months ago in the Philippine Cup when he was inadvertently hit on the shin.
Although already experiencing pain, Fajardo still led the Beermen to the all-Filipino title and helped the team reach the Commissioner's Cup finals, but that may have aggravated the injury.
"May crack 'yung bone – 'yung shin – so kailangang ipahinga. Walang activities. First week ko, as in wala, halos nasa kwarto lang ako, lumabalas lang ako 'pag kakain," Fajardo narrated.
(There is a crack in the shin so I need to rest it. No activities. During the first week, I was just in my room and I only go outside to eat.)
"Mahirap kasi nasa buto eh."
(It's hard because it's a bone injury.)
For the meantime, Fajardo will turn his focus on his recovery, which will begin with core exercises. – Rappler.com