Howard facing an extended period on the sidelines
IT was just five minutes into his fifth game for Ipswich that Tom Howard watched his debut state league season flash before his eyes.
He finds out tomorrow if it's over.
"I just went up and slam dunked and just landed a bit awkward," Howard said, recalling what happened playing against Gladstone.
"At this stage, they told me it's a ruptured ACL.
"I've still have some fibres left in my ACL so they may not have to operate on it but I'd say they probably will."
The promising Ipswich Force recruit could be watching from the sidelines for an extended period. However, waiting for a verdict on his left knee, Howard continued to support his teammates.
He hobbled around on crutches at Friday night's latest QBL match against Bundaberg.
Howard, 18, had received big raps from coach Andrew Summerville for his efforts since joining Ipswich.
He had trained with the Townsville Crocodiles NBL side before venturing south.
Just as he was finding his feet with Force, he suffered the nasty mishap.
"I was lucky enough to get my starting spot and getting good minutes," he said. "But unfortunately, that's the way things happen."
North Queensland born and bred Howard said he'd previously avoided any serious injury.
"I turn 19 next year so I'll bounce back," he said.
Being a determined young man, he offered encouragement to his struggling team.
"I was speaking to the boys earlier in the week," he said.
"I said at the moment, everything looks bad now with injuries and bad play and stuff but nothing ever lasts.
"I think we'll come around.
"By the end of the season, I think we'll be a really tight bunched group."
State of Play
QBL men: Bundaberg 85 (Zarryon Fereti 28, Will Shackleford 27) d Ipswich Force 77 (Jerel Chavis 21, Alex Desroches 18, Martin Iti 12).
QBL women: Ipswich Force 81 (Nadeen Payne 33, Emma Langord 10) d Bundaberg 55 (D'Lesha Lloyd 20, Caitlin Clancy 11).
Next matches: Friday night - Ipswich Force v South West Metro at Booval. Women at 6.30pm. Men at 8.30pm.