NBL Grand Final Series: Latest Scores, Scores, News, Xavier Cook Injury
Sydney Kings star Xavier Cooks has detailed the extent of an “ugly” injury that is putting his participation in the rest of the NBL Grand Final series in question.
NBA-bound Sydney Kings star Xavier Cooks has declared himself a safe starter for Friday’s crucial game 3 clash, despite admitting his “beaten-up” frame is struggling with a corked thigh and ankle injuries.
Cook’s explanation comes as another Kings star – guard Derrick Walton Jr – is also expected to put aside the cramps in his thigh to take on the New Zealand Breakers.
It’s a double boost for Sydney, who still has to defy history to win this year’s championship series after dropping Game 1.
Only four teams in NBL history have won the championship series after losing the opening game.
However, Cooks is determined to push through the pain to clinch back-to-back championships with the Kings.
“I’m going to try — no matter what, I’m going to try,” said Cooks, who this week signed a two-year NBA contract with the Washington Wizards that begins after this year’s NBL Championship Series.
“It’s more the cork, but it’s a mix of everything. The ankle swells up on international flights but the cork hit me twice in the same spot in game 1 and I just couldn’t get going.
“On Sunday I tried to warm up to get going but it just didn’t feel safe. My knee then started to explode, and yes, it was ugly.
“I tried to play but the coach kept pulling me out because he didn’t want any more injuries in the future.
“But these four days off are going to be great. Obviously my body is feeling pretty bad but it’s the grand finale and I’m going to try to get through it.”
Cooks is confident of going into Game 3 on Friday night after watching the Kings beat the Breakers in Auckland to take the series to 1-all.
The year’s MVP called the win “the bravest performance he’s ever seen,” but he was particularly excited by his side’s defense, which limited the Breakers to just 74 points.
Sydney embraced a defensive mindset to win last season’s championship and Cooks wants the Kings to bring that ruthless mindset back.
“For a good part of the year we were the best defense and we were proud of that, but in the last few months we’ve moved away from that,” he said.
“We’ve won games through our attacking skills and understanding of game plans.
“So it was good to have a full 40-minute defensive effort at an elite level in Game 2 because that’s what you need to win games in the playoffs.”
With more than 13,000 tickets already sold, Sydney expects its biggest crowd of the season when they host the Breakers in game three of the NBL23 Championship Series on Friday.
NBL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: GAME 3 (Series Tie at 1-all)
Friday, March 10th:
Sydney Kings v New Zealand Breakers at Qudos Bank Arena from 7:30pm (AEDT) and live on ESPN and Kayo
Originally released as NBL Finals: Sydney Kings star Xavier Cooks speaks out about injury fears
https://www.codesports.com.au/sport/nbl-finals-sydney-kings-star-xavier-cooks-opens-up-on-injury-scare/news-story/5d245a009e9a20f410b1ac75fa78106f?nk=a2e13c8073a2c6f154c3d451cc792dd0-1678166344 NBL Grand Final Series: Latest Scores, Scores, News, Xavier Cook Injury