Swinburne Cobras star guard Joel Naburgs underwent successful hand surgery last week to repair a broken bone in his left hand, and is expected to miss at least the next four games. Naburgs suffered the injury in the Cobras win over the BA CoE in Canberra on April 6, but played through the pain to score a game-high 24 points. This was then followed by a 19-point effort against Brisbane, playing all 40 minutes, which included a trio of highlight dunks.


Naburgs’ injury comes at a bad time for the Cobras, who are about to embark on arguably their toughest stretch of the 2014 season. Kilsyth travels to Tasmania this week to take on Hobart and the undefeated NW Tasmania Thunder, then will play at Geelong against the 5-1 Supercats on May 3. With the Thunder and Supercats leading the South and East Conferences, respectively, the Cobras will face their most difficult road challenges to date, especially without their top playmaker on court. Naburgs has had an outstanding start to the season, amongst the league leaders in scoring (20.8ppg) and assists (5.0apg), in addition to being one of SEABL’s best rebounding guards (6.0rpg).


What may soften the blow, however, is the signing of Auryn Macmillan, who will provide scoring and toughness inside for the youthful Cobras. Veteran Gerard Leonard showed off his old form last week, with 13 points and the game winning 3-pointer, and will look to build on that in Naburgs absence. Rookie Kyle Adnam will also be expected to step up now that his NBL duties are complete, while import Dain Swetalla should see more touches in Coach Popp’s offence.


With a bye in Round 7 for the Cobras, Naburgs’ anticipated return is May 17, when Kilsyth will host NW Tasmania. All of Kilsyth Basketball wishes Joel a speedy recovery and look forward to his on-court return soon.