Basketball: Fraley still unavailable as Riders turn to Cup
Leicester Riders take a break from league action when they head to London Lions for a BBL Cup quarter-final tonight (7.45).
Riders' undefeated start to the league campaign included an 89-83 victory against the Lions at the John Sandford Centre last month, but included in that was a 23-point, 14-rebound display by John Fraley.
However, the big forward will not be available tonight as his knee injury persists, leaving a sizable hole in the line-up.
"He's still working with the medical people, he's had a scan on it, but it's still not quite clear what the damage is, so it's hard to have an assessment in terms of timescale," said coach Rob Paternostro.
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"He still has swelling in the knee so we just have to be patient and wait.
"Our focus this week has been on playing without him and trying to figure out the best way to adapt to that.
"We feel like we have a lot of guys who can contribute and last weekend was a good example of that.
"Jamell Anderson and Barry Lamble both did very well in our two games, and we'll continue to see what the best option is."
Although Jelson Homes DMU-backed Riders were able to cover that gap in impressive fashion to claim a double-scalp – against champions Newcastle and Cheshire Jets – to move to the top of the BBL table, the Lions' style of play would appear to be well suited to exploit Fraley's absence in the paint.
"I think they are one of the more difficult teams to defend in the league, they certainly do a good job of scoring by getting to the basket," said Paternostro.
"They're a good offensive rebounding team and, because they're a new unit, they will be getting better with each passing game. They are a very dangerous team."
With four of the top five in the table in the other half of the draw, both Leicester and London will fancy their chances of reaching the final, with a two-legged semi-final against Sheffield or Glasgow on offer for the winner.
Paternostro added: "Cup competitions are exciting for players and fans because of the knock-out nature, but we approach them with the same type of intensity."
Lions: Jackman, Spencer, Pedroso, Fontaine, James, Stepanavicius, Lawson, Martin, Irish, Ogedengebe, Sturt, Wait.
Riders: Okoro, Couisnard, Stewart, Sullivan, Calvo, Hopkins, Taylor, Anderson, Washington, Lamble, Haggith, Gould, Dawes, Maynard, Losonsky.