It appears like Jayson Castro’s latest Gilas Pilipinas return could be over before it even starts.
The TNT star will be out for about a month following a muscle strain he suffered in a game against NLEX in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup on Friday.
The development not only affects his stint with his mother club, but it also has a major impact on the national team’s preparations for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Given Castro’s expected timeline, if he makes it back in four weeks, he’ll only have a couple of days to re-establish himself with Gilas.
“We got some bad news today. I think Jayson's gonna have to step away from the Gilas team. He's got a 4 to 6 week injury. He has to heal from what I've heard from the TNT staff,” Ginebra and Gilas head coach Tim Cone said Saturday.
“I don't see him being able to get ready in time to come and play. We're down to 14 guys.”
Losing Castro, who came out of international retirement to reinforce Gilas in the SEA Games, is a huge turn of events for Gilas.
Not only is Castro an effective weapon, but in a team full of veteran PBA stars, he’s one that commands respect among his teammates.
Perhaps more than his expected production, his leadership and overall presence will be the main things that Gilas will miss if he’s totally out now due to injury.
“Obviously losing a guy like Jayson is a huge, huge blow. But he was one of the guys I was really looking forward to coaching and relying on. Tough news,” Cone said.
“But tougher for him, having to come back from that. Down to 14, we'll make a decision later on whether we'll go back to 15 or stay at 14. We haven't made that decision yet.”
Despite Castro’s injury, Cone said Gilas will re-evaluate and will carefully address Castro’s situation with the national team.
“If he makes the minimum time, which means he'll come back November 26, 27? That would be three days before the tournament starts. That's if he's healthy. He has to get in shape, he has to play. If he's five weeks, he's out. Six weeks, we're already done,” Cone said.
“It's basically a 4 to 6 week injury. But we'll talk to Dr. Canlas and hear what he has to say as well before we make a final ruling on whether we need to look for somebody else or consider playing without him,” he added.
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