Knee injury forces Lee out of Gilas five
WITH a heavy heart, Paul Lee yesterday begged off from the Gilas Pilipinas pool because of the delicate condition of his left knee, confirming fears relayed earlier by his PBA coach, Yeng Guiao, to the Inquirer.
“I am really saddened by this,” Lee told reporters in Filipino, shortly after informing Gilas coach Tab Baldwin of his decision ahead of yesterday’s practice.
“It is painful for me to skip the Gilas team this year, especially since the (Olympic Qualifying Tournament) will be held here.
“But telling coach of my decision got a lot off my chest,” said the Rain or Shine point guard, the Elasto Painters’ hero in the recent PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals against Alaska.
“I really cannot do anything about it (injury). I really need to rest.”
The 27-year-old Lee has been in and out of the Rain or Shine roster in the past two seasons due to an assortment of injuries, the most serious being a partial tear on his right knee. The injury kept him out of the early part of the Commissioner’s Cup eliminations.
In an Inquirer report on Sunday, Guiao said he and his coaching staff went easy on Lee during practice so he could play his point guard in actual games.
“Only coach Yeng and I knew about my condition,” Lee said. “If you noticed during the Finals, there were games that I would sit out the fourth quarter even though I was playing so well. He really managed my minutes.
“I had to take a lot of pain-killers (just to be able to play).”
Lee said he would need additional PRP (platelet-rich plasma) sessions so the torn ligament would heal. But it is a process that, he said, leaves him immobilized.
“But after my sessions, whenever I can, I will pay the (Gilas) guys a visit in practice,” he said.
“Paul is out and it is a tragedy for him,” Baldwin said. “He’s had so many problems with his knees, he’s had so many problems with his body.
“We said a special prayer for him so that he could get those things right,” Baldwin said. “We wish him the best. He’s a fallen brother and we hope that he gets back on his feet as soon as possible.”
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