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Norton close to NBA return for Wildcats

Mitch Norton will fly to Brisbane with the Wildcats in a hope of returning from injury to play against the Bullets in game 2 of their NBL semi-final series.

Norton close to NBA return for Wildcats

Mitch Norton will fly to Brisbane with the Wildcats in a hope of returning from injury to play against the Bullets in game 2 of their NBL semi-final series.

MITCH NORTON of the Wildcats in action during the NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Perth Wildcats at Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand.
MITCH NORTON of the Wildcats in action during the NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Perth Wildcats at Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. Picture:Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

Perth Wildcats will give guard Mitch Norton every chance to prove his fitness for Saturday's game two of their semi-final series against Brisbane Bullets.

Norton hasn't played since tearing a calf in late January, but is making a bold push to make his return for the second leg of the series against the Bullets.


Coach Trevor Gleeson revealed Norton was close to playing in game one, on Thursday night.

The Wildcats won that game 89-59 after a dominant second half.

Norton has missed six games since going down against the Adelaide 36ers on January 25, but Gleeson says they are now just waiting for the final approval from the medical staff before he can play.

"He just wasn't quite there for today," Gleeson said.

"We'll work him out tomorrow morning and he'll come to Brisbane and we'll make a call to see how he goes.

"If it's me, I say yes... the medical staff... that's their job."

The Wildcats would like to get Norton on the court before the championship series starts, should they make it.

He would be a handy backup for guards Damian Martin and Bryce Cotton, providing another option in an already talented defensive unit.

He has played 23 games this season, starting in 10 to cover injuries.

He is averaging 8.7 points and almost three assists per game.

The Bullets go in to Saturday's game with confidence, despite having scored only four points in a dismal final quarter on Thursday; after scoring only 15 in the third.

They beat Perth both times they hosted them in Brisbane this season.

They were the only team to beat the Wildcats in their first 11 outings and they backed up the dose just before Christmas.

In their three games in Perth, Brisbane has averaged just 73 points per game, but have recorded an impressive 96.5 points per game against the Wildcats in their two home games.

Gleeson said he will be looking towards his defence to get the job done again and earn them a spot in the championship series - against either Sydney or Melbourne.

"(Brisbane) can score a whole heap of points," he said.

"Without a question, it's going to be our defence again.

"We're pretty good defensively when we lock on and talk and communicate. We can control the game with our defensive intensity.

"We probably gave them too many foul shots and too many second chance shots (on Thursday), if I am being really picky, but it was out defensive effort that gave us the win."

If Brisbane manages to turn the table on the Wildcats and win on Saturday, game three, in Perth on Monday, will decide the semi-final winner.

AAP


AAP




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