Joe Devance out for at least a month as he undergoes foot surgery

Defending champion Barangay Ginebra won’t be in full strength yet when it starts defending its PBA Governors’ Cup title next week despite having prized big man Greg Slaughter back.

That’s because versatile forward Joe Devance is set to miss a month or so as he’s scheduled to undergo foot surgery next week.

Ginebra deputy coach Richard del Rosario bared the plan on Devance, who was playing through a painful torn plantar fasciitis dating back to the Philippine Cup playoffs. The 6-11 Slaughter, on the other hand, is still recovering from a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) on his knee, which he suffered in the same conference of last season.

Slaughter though has been religiously attending to his rehab and could hopefully, contribute for the Kings in their title defense.

“He (Devance) will get a surgery so he may be missing some of the games.  Sabi nila mga 1 month daw yung recovery,” said Del Rosario, who called the shots in Ginebra’s 96-87 loss to loss to Alaska in a tuneup game on Thursday.

Devance is still in the US for a family trip and is scheduled to be back for his surgery by Sunday.

“Kailangan na rin niya kasi matagal niya ng pinu-putoff yung surgery niya so yun,” he said. “We’re going to miss Joe. We’re happy to get Greg back but si Joe naman mami-miss namin, yun ang pros and cons nun.”

Ginebra coach Tim Cone is still on a scouting duty in the NBA Summer League.

Del Rosario could only hope their short build-up can still give Slaughter enough time to regain his condition before opening the conference game on July 23 against Meralco in an early collision between two of last year’s Finals protagonists for the season-ending conference.

“Main objective ng tune-up is to try and see (our preparation), especially for Greg.  I think it’s very important for him to get back yung timing niya, yung rhythm niya kasi after a year of not playing, yun yung pinaka-objective ng tune-up namin,” he said of Slaughter, who was quick to leave Gatorade Hoops Gym.

“May time pa naman eh, hopefully lalong masanay si Greg maglaro, he’ll get better and the team will get better also,” he added.

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