Perth Widcats star Bryce Cotton has had leg surgery and won’t play again until at least the semi-finals after an MRI revealed he’d suffered a haematoma to his left quadricep.
Cotton suffered the injury against Brisbane on Wednesday, yet continued to play and then competed against Cairns on Friday night too.
He sat out yesterday’s win over Adelaide with groin soreness and went for scans to learn the reasons for his leg pain. Those scans indicated a separate injury that required surgery.
Perth will wait for at least two weeks before deciding when he could be fit to return.
The injury isn’t related to the groin problems and is believed to have occurred in the first half against the Bullets.
Cotton received a huge cork to his leg from Harry Froling while attempting to get past a screen late in the first period. That was followed by another blow from Matt Hodgson early in the second quarter. Both incidents were called as fouls against the Bullets.
He played out the match but scored only 10 points, then managed 19 points against Cairns two nights later.
The Wildcats had a horror schedule with six matches in 11 days and there were always fears that somebody would suffer an injury.
Perth are guaranteed to finish in the top two and are level on 24 wins with ladder leaders Melbourne, but United have played two fewer games.
The Wildcats’ remaining games are against Sydney, Illawarra and Melbourne.
Cotton can be replaced in the line-up by Jarred Bairstow for the remainder of the regular season.
But with question marks hanging over when Cotton will be available, doubts also hang over the team’s ability to record a historic three-peat.
Cotton has won two NBL MVP awards, is the favourite to win this year’s gong, and has also been the grand final MVP twice.