DESPITE needing six stitches in his face during the 73-62 win against the Kings in their NBL clash in Sydney on Friday night, Cairns skipper Alex Loughton said there was no chance of him sitting out the rest of the match.
With teammates Jamar Wilson and Matt Burston staying on court after suffering facial injuries in recent matches, Loughton said he wasn't going to be the one to let the team down.
"It was a bit of a war wound which I had to get taped up. I smashed my jaw, but I wanted to come back out," he said. "There have been three cases of that happening so far this season.
"Jamar Wilson lost half a tooth in one game - he threw it under a seat on the bench before going back out to play.
"And Matty Burston had his tooth put through his lip a couple of weeks back.
"No one wants to be the first person to take a hit and have to sit out a game - that's a bit of a joke we've got going through the team."
What was no laughing matter was the seven-game losing streak the Taipans endured in October and November, but the team has climbed back to fourth on the NBL ladder after winning four of its past six games.
As well as the players' obvious toughness, Loughton put the resurgence down to some changes to the side's offensive structure.
"Since our seven-game skid we've placed a much greater emphasis on how we finish our plays, and making sure everyone on the court contributes to our offence," he said.
With 13 regular-season games remaining, Loughton said building some momentum ahead of the finals was crucial.
"When we made the grand final series in 2010/11, we had to claw our way into that," he said. "If we can have a big January then the sky's the limit this season."
Cairns will host Wollongong in round-10 action on Saturday night.