Rhenz Abando 'better,' eyes late February return from spine injury

Rhenz Abando ‘better,’ eyes late February return from spine injury

/ 05:50 PM January 23, 2024

Rhenz Abando

Rhenz Abando of Anyang KGC in the KBL was all smiles during a media session at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Rhenz Abando is targeting a February return from spinal fractures he sustained last month in Anyang’s loss to Goyang Sono in the Korean Basketball League (KBL).

Abando, who fractured his third and fourth lumbar vertebrae and a concussion, after a freak fall following a collision with Goyang import Chinanu Onuaku while attempting a putback dunk, is back in town with Anyang set to play TNT on Wednesday in the East Asia Super League (EASL).

“Right now, I feel better and I’ve been resting for almost four weeks now. I can’t really say when my return is but I need two more weeks of conditioning,” said Abando in Filipino on Tuesday at Philsports Arena in Pasig.

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Rhenz Abando

Rhenz Abando.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

“I’m targeting a return by the end of February,” added Abando, who will undergo another CT scan when he returns to Korea.

Onuaku was fined three million won (Php 128,300) by the KBL, which ruled his foul against Abando as “intentional” upon review. The KBL, however, spared Onuaku from suspension. The sanction did not sit well to some fans who even staged a protest in front of the league’s headquarters in Seoul.

Abando, however, felt what happened was just an “accident” and he doesn’t plan on taking any legal action against Onuaku.

The 25-year-old Abando will miss Anyang’s duel against the Tropang Giga and is likely out for Gilas Pilipinas in next month’s Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers.

“I won’t rush [my recovery]. I’ll slowly get back to doing my workouts after my CT scan,” said Abando, who also missed out on the KBL All-Star festivities where he was supposed to defend his Slam Dunk crown.

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The one-time NCAA champion and MVP has come a long way in his recovery but he’s still far from getting back to his old self.

“As of now, there’s still some pain especially when I try to lift something heavy or when I squeeze my back. In the flight [here], I couldn’t move much because my back still hurts a bit.”

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