Basketball: Gadson set to replace Huntley

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The Independent Online
RYAN HUNTLEY has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of a work permit this week. Not his, but the permit for the man brought in to replace him in the Brighton Bears line-up, fellow-American Cheyne Gadson.

Huntley was on course for a stellar season, having played a major role in Bears winning the BBL Cup last month and reaching next month's BBL Trophy final. But last Saturday he broke a bone in a foot in the Championship win at Plymouth Raiders. Adding to the 6ft 4in playmaker's misfortune was that the injury, which may take only four weeks to heal, came 48 hours before the transfer deadline. Bears' coach Nick Nurse, who suffered a similar injury during his playing career, decided he could not risk Huntley taking longer to heal.

He signed veteran English guard Ronnie Baker but, most damagingly for Huntley, also signed Gadson. And as soon as the 6ft 4in 24-year-old from Oklahoma State receives his work permit, Huntley's season will be over. Gadson will take Huntley's slot under the eligibility regulations and join Steve Lepore and Andrew Alleyne as the club's three permitted overseas players requiring work permits. And with the deadline past, it is too late for Huntley to sign for another club.

Nurse said: "Ryan is as good a point guard as I have ever coached. It's bad for him personally and it's bad for us."

But Nurse survived without Huntley or Gadson in Thursday night's 90-80 Championship win at Sheffield Sharks, which moved them to second in the table alongside Sharks and four points behind Chester Jets, but with two games in hand.

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