NBL21: South East Melbourne import Keifer Sykes to miss 3-6 weeks with ankle injury

As South East Melbourne Phoenix prepares to welcome ex-NBA man Ryan Broekhoff, it is coming to terms with the news star import Keifer Sykes could miss up to six weeks of action.

The Chicago native burst onto the NBL scene this year piloting the Phoenix offence, which is the highest-scoring in the league, with 16.7 points and 6.9 assists — good enough for third in the NBL.

But the 27-year-old suffered an ankle injury in the Phoenix’s recent loss to Adelaide and has so far missed clashes with Illawarra and Perth.

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Keifer Sykes has had a stellar start to his NBL career. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Coach Simon Mitchell confirmed the bad news after his side’s agonising 93-92 defeat at the hands of the Wildcats.

“It’s going to be a little while, that’s all I know,” Mitchell said when asked about Sykes’ availability.

“We’ve been given a broad spectrum on how long it’s going to be, three-to-six I think is the general gist of what I’ve been told.

“It’s going to be a little while.”

Sykes suffered the ankle injury during a recent loss to the 36ers. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

In Sykes’ absence, Kyle Adnam has taken to the starting role with aplomb, dealing out a franchise record 13 assists against the Hawks, before pouring in a career-high 28 points against Perth.

But the Phoenix have had injury woes all season, with big man Dane Pineau’s back injury to be reassessed toward the end of the NBL Cup, while point guard Adam Gibson is day-to-day with a calf injury.

While Sykes’ loss is a big blow, help is on the horizon, with Broekhoff set to end quarantine on March 7 and join the Phoenix just in time for a date with cross-town rival Melbourne United on March 10.

Ryan Broekhoff brings NBA experience to the Phoenix. Picture: NBAE/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Broekhoff combines elite shooting with stingy wing defence and NBL legend Andrew Gaze believes he will have a huge impact on a side that, despite the loss, has still been able to cling to a top-four spot.

“The thing about this Phoenix team, it’s going to change significantly when Ryan Broekhoff arrives,” Gaze said on ESPN broadcast during the Wildcats game.

“He’s going to be a high impact player, he’s going to be taking someone’s minutes away from them and how they adapt to him is going to be a challenge

“Ultimately, they’re going to be a whole lot better with Ryan Broekhoff in their team.”

Originally published asYikes for Sykes: Phoenix set to miss import for long stretch

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