Cameron Bairstow of the Bullets holds his knee during the round 11 NBL match between Brisbane and the Illawarra Hawks at the Brisbane Convention Centre.
Cameron Bairstow of the Bullets holds his knee during the round 11 NBL match between Brisbane and the Illawarra Hawks at the Brisbane Convention Centre. Bradley Kanaris

Bairstow injury compounds Bullets' loss

BRISBANE is fearing the worst after star forward Cameron Bairstow suffered a nasty knee injury in the 91-85 overtime loss to Illawarra.

The former Chicago Bulls forward and Rio Olympian will go for scans on his left knee after it awkwardly buckled on a fast break in the dying stages of overtime.

Brisbane's marquee signing crashed to the Brisbane Convention Centre floor and he clutched at his knee as he writhed around in pain.

He hobbled from the court in obvious discomfort and left the arena on crutches after the final buzzer.

Bairstow was a forlorn figure after the match with Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis saying the initial diagnosis from club medical staff was "not good”.

"It's no point speculating at this point. We'll wait and get the scans and deal with whatever is in front of us from there,” he said.

Brisbane (8-9) have a vacant import spot on their roster that they may activate if Bairstow is ruled out for the rest of the season.

The Bullets are well-stocked for big men so a quick, heavy-scoring guard could be an option.

The insult to go with Bairstow's injury was the costly 25 turnovers from Brisbane, which still stormed home in the final two minutes to come back from 77-70 down to send the game into overtime at 77-all.

"You can't win with 25 turnovers. Four of them were in the overtime period ... we keep shooting ourselves in the foot,” Lemanis said.

"We are contributing to our own demise on a lot of occasions. I'm a little bit lost to why that is happening.

"It's amazing that we even had a chance to win that game with 25 turnovers.”

Brisbane was sloppy at the start of the second and third quarters to gift-wrap the lead to the Hawks (9-8), who shot out to a 17-point buffer late in the third quarter before the Bullets dug deep and made a game of it.

Nick Kay top-scored for the Hawks with 14 points while Rotnei Clarke and Tim Coenraad had 12 points each, with another four Illawarra players in double figures in a typically even spread.

Bullets import Torrey Craig had 21 points and seven rebounds on his 26th birthday to be Brisbane's best with Bairstow (16 points and six rebounds) and veteran guard Adam Gibson (13 points and four assists) chiming in.

Bullets import Jermaine Beal had 12 points including two pressure-packed free throws with 11.1 seconds on the clock in regulation time to force overtime.

Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge said his side controlled the contest and did well to repel the fast-finishing home side.

"If we lost that, I would have been devastated. They worked so hard together as a unit. The way we fought together as a group was pretty special,” he said.


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