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Surgery rules Coll out for season

Invercargill's Connor Coll is to undergo ankle surgery in coming weeks, ruling him out of the 2023 Sal's New Zealand National Basketball League. However, he is set to remain a familiar face around the Sharks squad this year.

"It's been a reoccurring thing over the last few years. I've done a few ankle rolls and have made a bit of a mess in there. I've got a few ligaments which aren't quite attached and they need a bit of a clean up and it's affecting me out on court so I thought it was in my best interests to get it done," Coll said.

Coll will go under the knife in two or three weeks, then faces a stint in a cast for two weeks followed by four to six weeks in a moonboot which will mean he is unlikely to be back out on court for five to six months.

The good news is that the playing group's loss is the management team's gain with Coll set to play an assistant role under Head Coach Guy Molloy throughout the season.

"Guy is happy to have me around and have me help out where I can whether it's in a specialist coaching role, helping with skills sessions or video, just wherever I can lend a hand," Coll said.

After coaching the Southland Under-19 and Under-23 representative teams last season Coll sees the opportunity to learn under Molloy as a great development opportunity.

"That's the way I looked at it. It's a great chance to learn and develop my coaching skills and working with Guy will really help me with the 19s now and later in the year with the 23s as well, so I'm looking for to it," Coll said.

Having failed to make the Sal's NBL playoffs for the first time in his career last season, Coll is delighted with the way this year's squad is looking.

"It's coming together tremendously well. From what I've heard from all the guys we are going to fit together great and the boys will get out there and compete. It's not going to be easy for any team this season but everyone here has a chip on their shoulder after last year. It was a learning curve for all of us and we are all keen to put that right," he said.

Coll will be straight to work later this week as the Sharks officially begin their pre-season on Thursday, leading in to their Sal's NBL season opener at ILT Stadium Southland on Good Friday (7 April) against the Manawatu Jets. Season tickets for all nine home games from April to July are on sale now from Stadium reception.

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