Sydney Kings coach Andrew Gaze isn’t counting on having injured centre Julian Khazzouh back anytime soon. Khazzouh has been sidelined for 12 months with a leg injury and was hoping to return before Christmas.
But he now appears to be a longshot to make it back this season.
“It’s really a wait and see,” Gaze said after Sunday’s surprise 88-81 home loss to Melbourne United.
Until recently Gaze had been quietly confident a return was imminent based on Khazzouh’s form at training. A minor setback with his rehabilitation, however, has meant more time will be needed to evaluate and ensure further injury is not a risk.
“He’s come so far and it’s been so long that it’s almost to a point you don’t want to jeopardise all the work and rehab he’s gone through.” said Gaze
“He’d be a good guy to have back in the group, but with 12 months off it’ll take time to get his rhythm back anyway.”
Khazzouh has already missed 12 months of action after ripping his quadriceps tendon clean off the bone last year.
Khazzouh had been progressing well with his recovery, even participating in an exhibition game between the Sydney Kings and Oakhill College’s, the program Khazzouh .
Despite the loss to last-placed Melbourne, the Kings remain in top spot with a 10-7 record, while Melbourne boosted their record to 7-8.
“I thought the injury was painful but this rehab process has been far worse. It was literally physio for the first six months four or five times a week throwing up, almost passing out from the pain so it has been a crazy ride but I’m better for it.” said Khazzouh.
Khazzouh said with the NBL being such a close competition and the King’s start to the season looking good he was “itching” to get back on the court to help the Kings stay on top of the ladder.