NBA veteran Al Thornton already got the green light to play in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup following his latest checkup with renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Raul Canlas last week.
NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez bared the good news to FOX Sports on Monday just before the team began its morning practice.
“Binigyan na si Al ng clearance ni Dr. Canlas last week kaya nakaka-pag-practice na siya with the team,” a beaming Fernandez said.
The 32-year-old Thornton, who’ll be making his 2nd tour of duty in the PBA this season, has been religiously attending to his therapy and workout sessions over the past weeks under the watchful eye of physical therapist George Yorobe, Jr.
Fernandez explained that the sweet-shooting former Florida State standout has also been moving well since undergoing stem cell procedure on his right knee last December.
“Excited kami with Al Thornton back for the team. We know he has something to prove and we feel with the stem cell procedure, mas mapapalakas ang tuhod niya,” added Fernandez.
With an improved front court this season following the acquisition of workhorse Sean Anthony, the Road Warriors are bound to reach the playoffs in the Commissioner’s Cup.
The NLEX mentor explained that given the Fil-Canadian’s blue-collar attitude, Thornton could easily slide to the 3-spot where he has shown his effectiveness as an outside shooter.
In fact, last season, the Clippers’ 14th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft averaged 30.8 points, 12.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 block in over 42 minutes of play with NLEX last season.
Thornton is a noted outside gunner, who dropped 50 points in a 96-90 win over Barangay Ginebra in Antipolo last year.
Thornton hopes to bring that same intensity and outside shooting for NLEX when it kicks off its Commissioner’s Cup campaign against the Othyus Jeffers-powered Barangay Ginebra side on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. — By Richard Dy