Tigers guard is getting toey

THEY call it 'turf toe' in AFL circles, but Melbourne Tigers guard Nathan Crosswell is not sure what to call the toe injury that has kept him sidelined for the past two National Basketball League games.

Crosswell, who is from Ballina, injured himself before the season opener against the New Zealand Breakers and, in hindsight, said he should not have played.

“I jarred the joint in my big toe and the way basketball is played these days everything you do is pretty much pushed up through that joint,” he said.

“I played that first game and I probably shouldn't have because it got really swollen and I didn't particularly pull up too well.”

After completing a South East Australian Basketball League season with Sandringham, and one of his best-ever pre-seasons with the Tigers, it was not the way Crosswell wanted to start another gruelling NBL campaign.

He also had to sit through the NBL's much-publicised off-season woes and the Tigers' decision to pull out of the league, only to re-join at the last minute.

“I'm just pretty happy to be playing right now,” Crosswell said.

“When you go from being unemployed, pretty much, you don't worry about these little things.”

Crosswell believes that the streamlined eight-team NBL competition is one of the strongest yet.

“Right now the NBL is as strong as it has ever been because all the players who had been in limbo have now spread out to the eight teams and they all have good quality players,” Crosswell said.

“If you don't go into a game ready to play you will get flogged.”

And that is exactly what happened to the Tigers at the weekend when they were thrashed 103-68 by the Townsville Crocodiles.

It's left the Tigers straggling in second last position on the NBL ladder with one win and two losses.

They will play the last-placed Gold Coast Blaze tomorrow at the Gold Coast Convention Centre and Crosswell is expected to suit-up.

“There are no easy games when you look at every team and you have to turn up ready to play or you are going to get beat,” he said. “At our best we are good enough to beat most teams and we have to get into that mindset.”

The Tigers are still missing giant centre Chris Anstey, who is recovering from a hip operation.

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