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Down 2-0 to Moncton in NBL Canada final, they will be without Glen Davis in Game 3 tonight at Mile One
In the biggest game of their 2018-19 season, the St. John’s Edge will be without their best player.
The team confirmed Sunday evening Glen Davis, averaging a team-high 19.4 points per game in the post season, will not dress in tonight’s Game 3 of the National Basketball League of Canada final against the Moncton Magic, set for 7 o’clock at Mile One Centre.
The Magic lead the best-of-seven final 2-0 after taking the opening two games of the series last week in Moncton.
However, in a pinch, the Edge have activated Junior Cadougan from injured reserved.
Cadougan, the league’s most improved player this season, has been sidelined since the final game of the Edge’s first-round playoff series against the Sudbury Five.
He still isn’t 100 per cent.
Davis, the former NBA champion, missed the first game of the series Wednesday because of concussion symptoms.
The 6-9 forward dressed for Game 2 Saturday night, but just over a minute into the fourth quarter, Davis was involved in a collision near the St. John’s bench and was forced out of the contest with an ankle injury.
For a while Sunday, it appeared the Edge might reactivate guards Kyle Johnson, who was signed as an emergency exemption before the Central Division final against the KW Titans (with Cadougan and Shaquille Keith shelved, and Carl English’s status uncertain).
Johnson, a two-time NBL Canada champ, appeared in two games for the Edge against the Titans before being released when English returned, and it was determined the Edge were no longer in need of an emergency roster signing.
But Johnson has remained with the team, practising daily, and Sunday night, the league’s website was reporting he would indeed be rejoining the Edge’s active roster.
However, it turns out that won’t happen.
According to coach Steve Marcus, the Edge could have activated Johnson once again as an emergency exemption, but only if St. John’s had seven players or less.
That could have happened had St. John’s deactivated Davis and Satnam Signh, who’s hobbled by foot problems.
“But if we do that,” said Marcus, “they’re deactivated for two games, and I couldn’t come to grips missing them for two games to just activate Kyle.
“The whole thing is silly.”
Cadougan averaged 13.2 points-per-game this season while playing 31.5 minutes a game.
Against Sudbury, the Toronto native suffered a torn muscle in the pelvic bone area. It was initially thought Cadougan would require surgery, but after visiting Canadian national team doctors in Toronto (he’s a veteran of the national team), it was determined the injury would require four to six weeks of rest and rehab.
“He’s worked out last four or five days,” Marcus said. “He feels fantastic, which is great because he’s a big piece of what we do.”
So the situation for the Edge tonight is St. John’s will have nine players in uniform, which includes Cadougan, who’s not 100 per cent.
Lee, despite playing 45 minutes Saturday, isn’t fully healthy either.
“We split the game up into six minute shifts,” Marcus said (the league plays 12-minute quarters). “All we want to do is win each six-minute shift. We’ve done a really good job winning the first couple of shifts in the first half, and even in the third. But we’ve done a really poor job winning the six-minute shifts in the fourth quarter.
“Winning the last six-minute shift is usually the most important, and we’ve yet to do that. At the end of the day, we have Dez Lee playing 45 minutes the other night and that’s too many. He said he wasn’t tired, but he missed three free throws late, and that’s on me for playing him too long.
“With a short bench, it’s tough, but I have to do a better job managing minutes … having our guys 100 per cent ready to go at the end of the game and not exhausted.
“And I’ll do a better job of that Monday night.”
At the Avenir Centre in Moncton Saturday night, St. John’s built up and maintained a modest lead through three quarters, but the short-staffed Edge saw it quickly disappear in the fourth, losing 107-100.
St. John’s led 52-46 at the half, and held on to that six-point advantage heading into the final quarter, but it took less than two minutes for the Magic to erase the deficit and take the lead. The Edge did manage to draw even later in the quarter, and was within three points of Moncton in the game’s final minute, but could not manage to go back in front again.