Basketball fans probably haven’t seen the last of Kelsey Griffin before she returns to the USA, with the Bendigo Spirit star in line to play for the Bendigo Lady Braves.
Griffin, the WNBL grand final MVP, could make a handful of appearances for the Lady Braves, beginning with Friday night’s SEABL season-opener against Knox at Bendigo Stadium.
Australian Opals centre Elyse Penaluna is still on the comeback trail from a knee injury, freeing up a restricted player position for the Lady Braves.
The only thing that will prevent Griffin playing is the paperwork being cleared by the SEABL.
“If he (Lady Braves coach Jonathan Goodman) gets his act together and gets the paperwork handled, I’d love to play,” Griffin said.
“I’m going to hang out for a while, just because I don’t have to be back in the States until the beginning of May.”
Goodman, a Spirit assistant coach, will take charge of the Lady Braves for the first time against Knox.
With a host of Spirit players in his squad, Goodman would be more than happy to add another – especially of Griffin’s quality.
“Hopefully we’ll have a surprise packet in there the first few games. It would be nice to see her running around in a Lady Braves uniform – we’ll just wait and see,” he said.
“We’ve just got to get the paperwork through, but she’d love to play and we’d love to have her.”
The Lady Braves won’t train together before Friday’s 6pm tip off, but having Spirit players Renae Camino, Maddie Garrick, Ebony Antonio, Jane Chalmers and Rebecca Campigli already in the squad will help the team hit the court running.
“I turned around to the girls before and said practice (tonight) and they just looked at me,” Goodman said yesterday.
“The beauty of having the nucleus of that group is that we can just roll into (this weekend).”
Goodman said he would not risk playing Penaluna too early in the season.
“She’s turned the corner and she’s without pain. She’s now lifting some weights to strengthen her knee up, so she should be right, but she won’t play Friday,” he said.
“They probably say round two or round three, I’m being conservative and going to delay as long as we can.”
The Lady Braves’ game will be followed by the Braves’ match at 8pm. Both teams also play in Geelong on Saturday night.