Australia

Isaac over injury Hump as Sixers mull huge United call

Star big Isaac Humphries is closing in on a return for the Adelaide 36ers. Picture: Getty Images

Conner Henry has said the words that will make every Adelaide 36ers fan smile: “Big Ice is getting close”.

So close is Isaac Humphries to returning to the court that coach Henry says it could be as soon as Saturday’s clash with Melbourne United.

The 211cm giant has not played since he injured his foot in the first quarter of the Sixers’ horror 44-point loss to New Zealand Breakers on January 27.

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The 23-year-old was close to playing in the 36ers’ big win over South East Melbourne Phoenix Saturday night after a long rehab from a metatarsal ligament sprain in his left foot.

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Conner Henry could have his star centre back soon. Picture: Getty Images
Conner Henry could have his star centre back soon. Picture: Getty Images

“He’s passing more and more physical tests right now, he’s loading the foot in his lower legs more and more, he’s rocking up, he’s recovering in the mornings, so we’re really optimistic on his return,” Henry said after his side’s victory.

“We’d like to get him through a couple or three more good, solid workouts this week as we prepare for United and there’s a chance that he could play against United.”

Former NBL Rookie of the Year Humphries had been a shining light for the Sixers in his return to the league after stints in the NBA and its G-League affiliate.

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Averaging 15.4 points on 60 per cent shooting, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks per game, Humphries was a candidate for defensive player of the year and Henry is acutely aware he has his sights set on even higher honours — an Olympic medal in Tokyo.

“We’re erring on caution, there’s too much at stake for the big man, we’ve got to keep him as healthy and as strong as possible for whenever he returns and he’s got Boomer responsibilities,” Henry said of the Australian national team squad member.

“He wants to make that club and so I’m perfectly aware of that and we’re not going to bring him back until he’s 100 per cent ready to go.”

The Sixers are now only two games back from the Hawks, who are in fourth position and a healthy Humphries could be the key to unlocking an unlikely playoff run.

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