Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson has backed his star players to continue playing through pain after they fought to a 95-92 loss against Brisbane today.
Bryce Cotton hobbled his way through the game with an ankle injury, and that followed a corked thigh from Wednesday. He also finished the match with his arm taped.
Vice-captain Mitch Norton struggled with a back injury and needed treatment on the sidelines which kept him out of the action at key moments.
The Wildcats are in the middle of three games in five days, but Gleeson said Norton and Cotton didn’t take injuries into the match.
Their next clash is against Illawarra on Sunday and Gleeson said his players had little option other than to soldier on.
“We’re not like football that rest guys. We play,” Gleeson said.
“Obviously Mitch wasn’t 100 per cent. Bryce and Mitch are both soldiers.
“If they’re hurt and can’t play they are really hurt. They want to play. Bryce proved that last week when he was laid up for three days and came out and played a game.
“I think he had some ankle issues during the game. We’ll go through that tomorrow.”
Cotton still scored 29 points, including 16 in the final quarter, as he dragged the scores back to level pegging.
But Nathan Sobey starred for Brisbane with 31 points and Vic Law was influential with 23 points.
Todd Blanchfield and John Mooney both finished with 20 points each for Perth and Mooney also managed nine rebounds, but the Bullets won the rebounding 42-35.
Perth looked flat early and trailed by 11 points after less than four minutes. Gleeson said lapses of concentration proved costly for his team.
“We started the game 4-15 so that’s not a world we want to live in. Then we were playing catch up,” he said.
“I thought the guys played their hearts out and gave the effort and everything we wanted to do there. There were a few concentration issues on the glass and some bad rotations for us and silly fouls that took them to the foul line.
“It was a combination of those things but it was only three points. We gave the effort. We just need to improve our concentration.
“You’ve got to be on-point. Guys coming off the bench weren’t ready to shoot the ball and play. It’s disappointing in that part.”
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