Bendigo Bank Spirt Face Nervous Wait On Kelsey Griffin

Akuna Photography

THE Bendigo Bank Spirit is sweating on the results of scans on star forward Kelsey Griffin’s injured hamstring.

Griffin suffered a hamstring pull in the second half of the Spirit’s 82-74 weekend loss to the Dandenong Rangers.

The two-time WNBL grand final MVP continued to play, but was clearly hampered.

She underwent an MRI on Tuesday, with the extent of the injury to be known by Wednesday.

Spirit coach Simon Pritchard said a decision on whether Griffin would take to the court against the Townsville Fire on Sunday would be made later in the week.

“She has got til Sunday, so she has quite a bit of time,” he said.

“But looking at the injury – and I am not a medical person – it looked like quite a bad tear.

“She slipped and fell on the floor and her back foot went out from under her.

“We won’t risk her – if she’s not ready for the game, we won’t play her.”

Griffin and fellow tall Gabe Richards have been instrumental in the Spirit’s two previous victories against the Fire this season, both in Townsville.

The dual championship winning pair have proven a real handful for the Fire and their formidable front-court duo of Suzy Batkovic and Cayla George.

The potential absence of Griffin would open up opportunities elsewhere on the Spirit roster.

Options for Pritchard include elevating import Joy Burke into the starting line-up, or going with a smaller line-up by adding guard Heather Oliver.

The Spirit (12-8) will enter the clash against the Fire (13-6) in fourth position, a solitary win behind third-placed Dandenong (13-7).

The Sydney Uni Flames (12-9) emerged as the biggest casualty from round 15, with losses to Townsville and South East Queensland relegating them to sixth place.

While Pritchard conceded a top two finish might be beyond the Spirit, it was game-on for finals.

“We have to deal with Townsville – we need to play like we did against them last time, which was desperate and chasing them,” he said.

“If Kelsey is not playing, I think it will really motivate some of the other girtls to go ut there and really play hard.

“If we play hard, you don’t know what might happen.”

Star shooter Belinda Snell said the Spirit were left to rue a few missed opportunities against Dandenong, but would look to rebound strongly against old rivals Townsville.

“They’re always tough to stop.” Snell said,

“They’re a tough team and the benchmark of the league having won (the championship) last year.

“But I think we match up well against their bigs and make their guards work hard as well.”

The Spirit have set themselves a goal of winning three of their remaining four matches.

Snell, a three-time Olympian and member of Australia’s 2006 world championship team, believed the team was more than capable of securing a finals berth.

“The atmosphere in Bendigo this season has been wonderful, hopefully we can get everybody out to support us on Sunday and really help us get over the line against Townsville,” she said.

Article: Kieran Iles, Bendigo Advertiser
Photo: Steve Blake, Akuna Photography

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