Raiders duo doubts for clash with Cheshire
MARJON Plymouth Raiders are sweating on the fitness of guards Rod Brown and Drew Lasker for tomorrow's BBL Championship trip to Cheshire Phoenix (5.30pm).
Neither have been able to train this week, hampering Raiders' preparations for the tough test.
Lasker had fluid drained from his knee on Monday, while Brown has a hamstring strain.
The problems explain, in hindsight, the duo's below-par performances in last week's shock 98-81 home loss to Durham Wildcats.
Love is hopeful both will play tomorrow, but if they cannot, Raiders will travel with a badly depleted core six-man rotation.
Love said: "We'll see how they both go. Hopefully we'll get them ready."
If Lasker and Brown are ruled out, Love would be forced to start Michael Ojo and Colin O'Reilly in an unlikely backcourt.
Up front, Raiders rotate Javarris Barnett, Jamal Williams, Andreas Schreiber and Matt Schneck.
Squad players Jay Marriott and Tristan Hall would make up the numbers.
Phoenix, whose record in the league is 8-12 behind 13-6 Raiders, include former Raiders Chez Marks and Jerome Gumbs, who starred at the Pavilions in Love's first season in charge, 2010/11.
They lead Phoenix in scoring.
"Chez is arguably the best scorer in the league," said Love of the guard set to match-up with Ojo tomorrow.
"He can shoot, he can get to the basket, he can pull-up and he's smooth doing it.
"He is a popular guy and we really enjoyed having him when he was here. He was a consummate professional."
Phoenix, when everyone is fit even, only run a core six-man rotation themselves.
But Love said: "Cheshire are a team who can just get going and when they do, it's a tough task to stop them.
"Yes, they have a shallow rotation but with the guys they have it doesn't really matter.
"Chez and Jerome can put up serious numbers, and I've been really impressed by (Phoenix guard) Gabe Haskins and (big-man) Alif Bland."
Love added: "We will get Chez and Jerome's best efforts, but we seem to get everyone's best effort at the moment. We seem to run into teams who catch fire."
Phoenix coach Matthew Lloyd is aware of veteran Brown's importance to Raiders.
He said: "Rod Brown is a good pick up for them and will be looking to distribute the ball to whoever is hot."