Southland Sharks captain Duane Bailey has revealed he has been operating at '70 to 80' percent in what has been a frustrating start to the 2017 National Basketball League season.
Bailey has been battling different leg niggles through the Zero Fees Sharks' first eight games of the season and has struggled to showcase his true abilities in the orange singlet to date.
However, Bailey stressed he is working hard to get back to his best as Southland makes their run towards the playoffs.
"There's something going on with my leg and it's taken a while to heal.
"Everyday I'm doing things to make it better and help the team. I'm still on the court and doing what I can but I'm just not as fast and as strong as I use to be I guess."
"It's extremely frustrating when you know you can do better.
"I feel like I am about 70 percent, 80 percent max. I've just got to do what I need to to get to the finals and hopefully I'll be back at about 100 percent then."
Bailey said a limited buildup to the New Zealand NBL season had probably set him back this year.
In recent years he had either been with the Breakers or playing in England in the lead up to the season and came in on the back of a good workload.
However, visa issues meant he didn't return to England and has had little quality court time since finishing with the Sharks in 2016.
"Coming back in was a bit of a shock to the body and maybe that's why I've got these little injuries. I hadn't played in a while and the body couldn't handle it."
Southland currently sit in second place in the competition standings with five wins and three losses.
If Southland was to put itself in a strong position leading into the playoffs there could be the temptation to give Bailey a break to try to fix his leg niggles once and for good before the playoffs.
"It would be a perfect situation but with how things are going with teams winning and losing it keeps us guessing," Bailey said.
"If we go on a really good streak maybe Judd [Flavell] could sit me out for a week just to get my body right, and hopefully that would help out.
"But to be honest if I can keep staying on the court, I want to. I don't want to have to sit out."
The Sharks next assignment will be against the Taranaki Mountain Airs at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill on Friday night.
The two teams have already met this season in a low scoring game which Taranaki won 64-61.
That particular loss followed a nightmare build up.
It included the night before winning in overtime against Nelson before then having all sorts of travel dramas with cancelled flights to get to New Plymouth to play the next night.
Bailey was confident they would be much better on Friday night.
"We always play well in Invercargill, it's our home with great fans."
AT A GLANCE
What: National Basketball League
Who: Southland Sharks v Taranaki Mountain Airs
When: Friday, 7pm
Where: ILT Stadium Southland, Invercargill
Article and image courtesy of The Southland Times