Damian Martin of the Perth Wildcats.
Damian Martin of the Perth Wildcats. TONY MCDONOUGH

Martin close to comeback for Wildcats

BASKETBALL: Captain Damian Martin will return from injury this weekend by playing one game from the Perth Wildcats' double header on the road.

Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson confirmed that 32-year-old Martin (pictured) was likely to play away either against the Sydney Kings at Qudos Bank Arena on Saturday night or the Brisbane Bullets on Monday.

A knee injury has sidelined the skipper since early November.

His clearance to return still hinges on passing a final medical test, although Martin has trained freely in strong signs that he will be given the all clear.

"He still has to get cleared, but he's practised well this week so far,” Gleeson said.

"We're hopeful the best-case scenario is he'll play one out of two (matches) and we should know that in the next 24 hours.

"I would assume that he couldn't play the full what he's used to, so 30-plus minutes, but I'll take medical advice on that.

"Just his leadership on the court is big for us, his toughness.

"We're getting back to full strength and hopefully it's this weekend.”

Gleeson said American import Bryce Cotton, who is preparing to make his NBL debut against the Kings, had settled in really well.

Cotton's influence will be particularly telling as to whether the Wildcats stretch their play-off record into a 31st consecutive season.

"We're throwing a lot at him, but he brings a lot to the table,” Gleeson said.

"He's very smart on the court and he's unselfish. We probably want him to shoot the ball a little bit more. We're looking forward to this first weekend.”

Perth (8-9) is sixth on the NBL ladder, while the Kings (11-10) are third heading into Saturday night's clash.

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