Stars poised to return for NZ Breakers

Daniel Gilhooly
Corey Webster is a thre-times NBL champion with New Zealand Breakers

A recuperating Corey Webster has declared himself a chance to play for the New Zealand Breakers this weekend in a rare dose of good news for the beleaguered NBL club.

The Breakers could have their two leading scorers, Webster and injured American swingman Scotty Hopson, back on court when they host the Illawrra Hawks on Saturday in a bottom-of-the-table clash.

Webster appeared to suffer a serious ankle injury early in Sunday's heavy loss in Adelaide.

Fears the Tall Blacks star would be sidelined for a lengthy period were allayed after X-rays revealed a bad sprain but nothing worse.

Webster - the most consistent Breakers performer this season, averaging nearly 20 points per game - said he wouldn't rush a return, having learned from playing with injuries during a disappointing campaign last season.

"I should have had some rest but I tried to keep playing. Then I had that good off-season, got my body fully right and that's showing," he told reporters.

The Breakers are confident of Hopson's return from knee ligament damage suffered a month ago, the former NBA guard having been a heavy scorer in the early rounds.

The finals are a long way off for the Kiwi club (2-8) after a spate of off-court troubles this month, including the arrest and suspension of recently-signed US guard Glen Rice Jnr.

They face a Hawks (3-8) side coming off victory over Cairns, highlighted by rising US star LaMelo Ball's triple-double - making the 18-year-old the youngest player to achieve the feat in NBL history.

Ball is among the favourites to be the top pick in next year's NBA draft and his match-up against fellow "Next Stars" ace RJ Hampton is expected to be watched by numerous NBA scouts.