Basketball: Riders rocked as Fraley is ruled out for rest of season
Leicester Riders have been dealt a huge blow after centre John Fraley was ruled out for the rest of the season through injury.
Fraley was diagnosed with a knee injury when he slipped off the ball in the match against Durham last month, but appeared to be responding well to treatment.
However, a closer look has revealed a torn ACL, and Fraley will now need surgery that will leave him on the sidelines for a minimum of six months, ruling him out for rest of Riders' campaign.
Fraley had a superb start to the season, being picked twice in the BBL team of the week and leading the Jelson Homes DMU-backed Riders in points and rebounds.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Riders head coach Rob Paternostro is hugely disappointed for Fraley.
"It is a big blow to a quality young man," said Paternostro.
"We all felt for him when he suffered that injury, there has seldom been as solemn a changing room as there was after that Durham win. We knew it could be a serious injury.
"But we were heartened by the initial prognosis and thought he might be back soon.
"Unfortunately, these things happen in sport, and now I hope John can get the best possible treatment, and get back to full fitness as soon as practical. We will miss him tremendously – as a player and as a team-mate."
Riders now have a work-permit slot open, but will hold fire before making any new signings.
The team are playing well at the moment and are currently on an eight-match winning start to the season. The combination of Pavol Losonsky, Jamell Anderson and Barry Lamble are covering for Fraley's loss.
Riders have a difficult double-header this weekend, at home to Plymouth Raiders at the John Sandford Centre on Saturday (7.30), and then a trip to Surrey Heat on Sunday (3.0).
Both Plymouth and Surrey have suffered just one defeat so far this season in the BBL Championship
Meanwhile, Riders' Drew Sullivan has been selected in the BBL team of the week for the first time this season.
The Great Britain star finally achieves the honour after leading unbeaten Riders since the start of the season.
Although a number of his team-mates have already grabbed the limelight, Sullivan now gets his share after guiding Riders past London Lions, last Friday, and into the last four of the BBL Cup.
The forward had a stunning return to his home town on Friday, lighting up the National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace with a fine double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds, and also dishing up seven assists.
Paternostro was full of praise for the veteran, and said: "Sullivan's play this season has been at a very high level and, quite frankly, the stats do not come close to telling the story.
"He has been immense defensively, he makes extremely good decisions, and his court-awareness is at a high level.
"I have said it before: Are there really five better players in the BBL? I don't think so.
"His play just rubs off on the younger guys. Some might have thought there could have been a fall-off in form after the Olympics – far from it. Drew has been superb."
Sullivan is joined in the team of the week by Newcastle trio Damon Huffman, Joe Chapman and Kareem Maddox, and Cheshire's Alif Bland.