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London Lions boss hails ‘Captain Marvel’ for playing with broken ribs

London Lions captain Mike Martin. Photo: Andy Sidders London Lions captain Mike Martin. Photo: Andy Sidders

Friday, January 3, 2014
7:03 AM

London Lions head coach Vince Macaulay revealed that captain Mike Martin played through the pain barrier against Newcastle Eagles and won’t be surprised if he does so again when Glasgow Rocks come to the Copper Box tonight (7.30pm).

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The Stratford-based side ended a horrible run of three festive away defeats against British Basketball League title rivals with a dominant display to beat fourth-placed Eagles 96-82 last weekend.

It saw Martin battle on with broken ribs, while Adrien Sturt put in an impressive performance at both buckets despite a sprained ankle. Julius Joseph has also been missing from the last two games having been given compassionate leave and Macaulay dedicated the Lions’ last victory to the veteran’s father who passed away.

On the injury front, the Lions boss said: “In the game against Sheffield we lost Adrien, Mike Martin has got broken ribs, Julius was not there and Chez [Marks], Rod [Brown] and Nick [Freer] just introduced themselves on the bus.

“We had a lot of issues to deal with, but as long as we can stay to together those [the win over Eagles] are the kind of performances that we can pull out.”

Asked if his skipper would be fit to face Glasgow, Macaulay said: “Mike is Captain Marvel, he’ll play whatever. I said to him [before the Eagles game], ‘you’ve got broken ribs Mike, do you want to play?’ He said, ‘of course’.

“Mike is a warrior and how he goes is how we go.

“Adrien has got sprained ankle ligaments but he was a key factor in what we did [against Newcastle].”

New signing Marks made a valuable 17-point contribution against the Eagles in his Lions home debut and his second outing at the Copper Box will be against the side that released him in November.

“He is looking forward to playing them,” Macaulay said, adding: “This is a tough league and if you take your foot off the pedal then you are going to get smacked down.

“The Rocks are a very tough team and had a tough start to the season.

“They’ve settled down a bit now so they are going to be a tough challenge for us.

“For us, it’s about bedding in and understanding our philosophy and, if we do that, we’ll get results.”

The Lions have won eight out of nine games at home - including a 80-77 triumph over Rocks in October - but they will be keen to avenge their 82-73 reverse in Glasgow at the start of December.

“Defending at home is crucial if we’re to have any chance of finishing in the top four,” Macaulay added.

“The venue is tremendous and with the amount of fans we are getting in, it really lifts the team

“Glasgow will be very tough and perimeter orientated, this game decides the head-to-head and is vital to both organisations, we must guard against Gareth Murray and Sterling Davis who are crucial contributors in any Rocks win.”

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