THE Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits have been plunged into injury crisis just five days out from their SEABL season opener against the Launceston Tornadoes.
New recruit Lauren Angel is awaiting results of a CT scan after initial fears she fractured her foot during Saturday’s pre-season match against the Ballarat Rush.
Meanwhile, athletic import forward Rachel Maenpaa recently underwent arthroscopic surgery on her left ankle and there is doubt about her availability for Saturday’s game at Lauren Jackson Sports Centre.
In a further blow, power forward Maddy Plunkett is set to miss the entire campaign after her troublesome foot injury failed to heal, requiring season-ending surgery.
The litany of injuries has been further compounded with the news US pivot Emilee Harmon won’t arrive in time for round 1 because of her playoff commitments with her team in Cork, Ireland.
Lady Bandits coach James Ballinger said the club would know more about both Angel’s and Maenpaa’s injury status by tomorrow but expected the US forward would be cleared to play.
“We don’t know the extent of Lauren’s injury yet,” Ballinger said.
“At this stage there could be a fracture as well as some ligament damage.
“Initial x-rays showed something wasn’t right so we’re getting a scan to understand exactly what’s going on, but from what we’ve been told, Rachel is a goer for round 1.
“At this stage I’ve been told nothing, medically speaking, that she won’t be right for Saturday but we’ll find out for sure on Wednesday.”
The loss of Plunkett for the season comes after the Albury native fractured her foot — a recurrence of an injury that ended her college career — coincidentally against Launceston last year.
Ballinger said surgery had been avoided “at all costs”.
But the injury hadn’t healed and another operation was the only remaining option.
“She’s the heart and soul of the club so we’ll try to keep her around in some sort of assisting role to keep her involved,” he said.
“We just have to accept it now and move on with what we’ve got.”