Basketball: Palmer shoulders the burden: Weighty problem looming for Hemel's coach

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The Independent Online
VINCE RAZAQ, the owner of Hemel Royals, has warned Danny Palmer to lay off the weights after the 6ft 11in coach damaged his back working out with his players in the gym last week.

Palmer, the former Crystal Palace and Portsmouth coach who returned to England this season after a successful spell in Germany, is vital to Hemel's attempts to build credibility on court from scant playing resources.

Tonight, Hemel face a Derby Bucks side in serious disarray, and Razaq is aware that Palmer's experience could prove crucial as the Royals seek to ensure they do not finish the season in the re- election places for the third successive season. 'Danny will be on the bench,' Razaq said, 'if I have to strap him there.'

Tim Rudge, Derby's founder and director, led the team to their first Wembley play-off appearance last season after he ousted the coach, Terry Manghum, for the final month of the campaign.

But the Bucks have won only two of their first eight games this season. On Wednesday, Rudge removed Greg Gurr as his assistant and that night left both Americans, Jason Siemon and Joe Belka, and the up and coming Englishman, Andy Gardiner, out of the starting five at Leicester. The Bucks lost 83-79.