Marcus Douthit Injury: Updates on Smart Gilas Star's Leg
If the host-country Philippines hope to parlay their Group E triumph into capturing the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, they better hope top star Marcus Douthit is a quick healer.
The American-Filipino forward suffered a bruised calf Tuesday night versus Qatar, according to Mikkel Bolante of Interaksyon.com. His national team picked up the slack in his stead, surviving a fierce Qatar comeback for an 80-70 victory.
That win was expected to keep Douthit's usage at a minimum the following day, when the Philippines played a relatively weak Hong Kong squad. However, Hong Kong came out competitive—perhaps more so than at any other point in this tournament—and forced coach Chot Reyes into playing his star far more than initially expected.
The result went in the Philippines' favor, as they won 67-55 to clinch a Group E championship. But Reyes made it clear that the situation forced his hand far more than he wanted it to.
“We didn’t want to play Marcus that many minutes. But a lot of our players weren’t ready tonight. So I had to do what I had to do to make sure that we get that W,” Reyes said.
Douthit has been the Philippines' most consistent force down low during the FIBA Asia tournament, using his big body to corral rebounds and finish around the basket. He's averaged 14.7 points, grabbed 10.3 rebounds and swatted two shots per game, all of which rank among the leaders for the entire event. His presence has helped give the Philippines a consistent post player on both ends of the floor, helping lead the host country to a 6-1 record (5-1 in aggregate games that counted for group play).
That level of dominance was less prominent against Hong Kong, though. Douthit played 31 minutes despite injury, but finished with only 13 points and eight rebounds on 6-of-14 shooting. Hong Kong were able to get second-chance opportunities by beating him for offensive rebounds, a fact that was not lost on Reyes after the game:
[The injury] affects his explosiveness, his quickness to the ball. That’s why Duncan Reid kept beating him to the offensive boards tonight. That’s not to say Reid is not a great rebounder. He’s an excellent rebounder. They beat us actually on the boards.
The Philippines will be hoping Douthit can work his body into finer form come Friday. They open the elimination round against a Kazakhstan team that won Group D in the preliminary round before faltering a bit against Group F opponents. If Douthit is hobbled, players like top scorer Jerri Jonson will have a much easier way to the rim.
Douthit is best known to American audiences from his days as a standout at Providence. The Los Angeles Lakers opted to draft him in the second round in the 2004 NBA draft, though he never played with the club, choosing a more lucrative career overseas instead.
He has been a member of Smart Gilas since 2010.
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