HORSHAM-bred Adelaide 36er Mitch Creek returned to the basketball court on Friday night after nearly 10 months on the sidelines.
Creek had a season to forget in 2012-13, with a ruptured achilles in round 11 against Townsville Crocodiles putting doubt on his blossoming career.
But the 21-year-old’s long road to recovery came to an end against the Perth Wildcats at Perth Arena, where he played his first National Basketball League home-and-away match since that fateful day in December.
Creek played more than 16 minutes in his return and showed he still had what it took to compete in the NBL, finishing with 10 points and an assist.
But it wasn’t the fairytale return that he hoped for, with the 36ers going down 83-80 in heartbreaking fashion after a Shawn Redhage jump-shot with 20 seconds to go sealed their fate.
The 195cm swingman tweeted about his tough year and the people that helped him along the way. “It’s been 299 days since I last stepped on the court in the NBL,” Creek tweeted.
“A snapped achilles and back surgery has stood in the way of me playing but, after all this time, I finally get to be myself again.
“A big thank you goes out to the Adelaide 36ers for their never-ending support and trust that I’ll be able to what I love so soon again.
“Lastly to the team, a thousand words can’t even say enough of how appreciative I am for all the great times I’ve had this past long year.”
Fellow Horsham product Shaun Bruce, now with Cairns Taipans, started his season with a 102-93 win over Townsville in the ‘Reptile Rumble’ at Townsville Entertainment Centre on Saturday night. Bruce played eight-and-a-half minutes and had one point and one assist.