TNT has new standby import as Smith remains day-to-day ahead of Finals
Paul Lintag on Jun 18, 2017 09:58 AM
Joshua Smith remains as TNT's import for now but the KaTropa already have a backup plan if he's not healthy enough to face San Miguel in the 2017 Commissioner's Cup Finals.
Turns out Joshua Smith did hurt himself during Game 3 of the Commissioner's Cup semifinals against Brgy. Ginebra and the injury was worse that what was originally thought.
Still in pain due to torn ligaments in his right toes, the towering TNT import practically willed himself to play in Game 4 against the Gin Kings Saturday.
Despite the injury, Smith never had plans of missing the KaTropa's closeout game vs. Ginebra.
Obviously limping all game long, the 6'10", 300-pound Smith still managed 18 points against the Gin Kings, helping TNT punch its ticket to the Commissioner's Cup Finals.
"I think he sacrificed a lot for this game. I know he is hurting, I don’t know really to what extent, but knowing how important this game is, he decided to play," head coach Nash Racela said.
"He said 'I was hurting, but it will hurt me more if I don’t play.' And that the heart of a champion. To that, we are so thankful for Joshua," the rookie mentor added.
Making the championship round, Smith says he'll deal with the injury later. He was too pumped up about the win to care about his ailing foot.
"I mean, right now its adrenalin and everything. I'll probably be sore in a couple of hours," he said.
"I feel great, man. I mean, that's why I came here, to play the season and have a chance to get into the championship," Smith added.
While TNT has until Wednesday next week to push for the recovery of Smith before facing San Miguel in the Finals, the KaTropa already brought 6'8" Mike Myers as a possible replacement.
But for now, Smith's status is officially day-to-day as the team will re-evaluate his health in the next couple of days.
"I have no idea," Smith said. "We got to practice on Monday, we'll see but right now we'll take it day-by-day."
"I can't say yet," Racela said if Myers will take over for Smith. "But we're ready for any eventuality. He's [Smith] a warrior."
Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8