PBA: Leg injury limits Phoenix's Paul Harris to just 2 minutes vs. NLEX

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 25 2021 11:39 PM

After averaging over 41 minutes per game in their previous contests, Phoenix Super LPG import Paul Harris played just under three minutes against NLEX. PBA Media Bureau
After averaging over 41 minutes per game in their previous contests, Phoenix Super LPG import Paul Harris played just under three minutes against NLEX. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines -- An apparent leg injury limited Phoenix Super LPG import Paul Harris to just under three minutes of playing time in their Christmas Day game against the NLEX Road Warriors at the Araneta Coliseum.

Harris had been averaging over 41 minutes in Phoenix's previous four games of the 2021 PBA Governors' Cup, but played just two minutes and 37 seconds against the Road Warriors before being subbed out at the 9:22 mark of the first quarter.

"At the start of the game, he felt something, parang may masakit sa calf or sa paa niya. And he told me, it feels kinda tricky, so he pulled himself out," Phoenix Super LPG coach Topex Robinson explained after the game.

It was reported on the broadcast that Harris was dealing with muscle spasms.

The 35-year-old American told Robinson that he "doesn't think he could play (at) 100%," the coach said.

"He doesn't wanna let us down, so we said he'd rather sit down and try to check on it first before playing. So the medical staff said, we don't wanna gamble on him until we're sure of what the cause was," Robinson added.

Phoenix Super LPG have yet to get an official diagnosis on Harris' injury.

The import exited the game with two points, one rebound and one assist. He had been averaging 21.5 points, 14.75 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game in their first four assignments.

Even without Harris, the Fuel Masters had enough firepower and defensive tenacity to shock the Road Warriors, 102-93. NLEX couldn't pounce on Harris' absence, with their import, KJ McDaniels, instead playing his poorest game of the conference so far. 

McDaniels was limited to just 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting, along with 10 rebounds.

The Fuel Masters won't play again until January 8, when they take on San Miguel Beer, and Robinson is hopeful that Harris would have recovered at that point.

Nonetheless, he acknowledged that a contingency plan will be necessary should Harris become unavailable for the rest of the conference.

"As early as that first quarter, I guess our team manager, Mr. Paolo Bugia, that's his job, to really look at those options. Obviously, we're still hoping that he's gonna be okay, but we also have to be realistic that it might be something that he might not continue to play for us," Robinson said.

"But whatever it is, I guess we just wanna enjoy this moment. And let tomorrow take care of itself. Again, we just wanna make sure, hopefully, that he's gonna be okay. I guess our break will help us a lot. We're gonna play on January 8 pa, so having those long days could be something that, we could see if Paul is gonna be fit to play come January 8," he added.

The Fuel Masters snapped a two-game slide and improved to 3-2 after beating NLEX.