Melbourne's injury crisis creates off-court drama

Melbourne United's injury crisis hit rock bottom this week, when it was announced that import guard Ramone Moore would miss the remainder of the season with a calf injury, sustained in Melbourne's loss to Illawarra.

Moore's absence compounded the injury-riddled United's list of absentees after Chris Goulding was forced to sit Thursday out with his troublesome ankle, as did swingman Todd Blanchfield.

The trio join Australian star David Andersen and import Devin Williams on the sidelines, after both were declared out for the season previously.

Despite Melbourne's best attempts to succeed short-handed in Adelaide on Thursday night, it has been the off-court drama surrounding NBL rules and regulations which has come into question.

NBL rules state that for teams to register a new player, the team must have at least 25% of games left in the regular season. In addition, players that are on the Active List for less than 25% of regular season games will not qualify for finals (as per below).

.@rpjward here is the rule. Typical NBL clarity in the wording. wow. pic.twitter.com/Mgdi9oErgA

— Ben Fitzsimons (@BenFitz) January 12, 2017

Melbourne's contest against Adelaide on Thursday night was the team's final chance to register a player (being their 21st game of the season).

The way I read the @NBL rules who ever United have signed either 1) can't play at all or 2) can not play in the finals if they make it pic.twitter.com/WYQvpdxaIV

— Ben Fitzsimons (@BenFitz) January 13, 2017

The Age's Roy Ward explained post-game that Melbourne had 'signed and registered a replacement import for Moore before they took the court on Thursday night', meaning that United had in fact secured their player for the remainder of the season (however not on the Active List, therefore ineligible for finals).

Well-known South Australian basketball journalist Boti Nagy was also involved in a social media debate surrounding the integrity of league boss Larry Kestelman with the club's MC.

You don't think league boss shld stomp on loopholes, not exploit them? Just asked a question. Good thing David Stern didn't own LA Clippers https://t.co/6GgspB3cSs

— Boti Nagy (@boti_nagy) January 13, 2017

Adelaide 36ers head coach Joey Wright wasn't too pleased with how this situation has been handled by all accounts, via Facebook.

The Barlow/Lewis situation

However, another conundrum was brought to the public's attention when both David Barlow and Bennie Lewis played on Thursday night.

Bennie Lewis was named as the injury replacement for David Barlow earlier in the season, which had some members on Twitter asking the question.

Hey @nbl asking for a friend. If Lewis replaced Barlow when he was injured how did they both play in the same game last night?

— Ben Fitzsimons (@BenFitz) January 13, 2017

GM of Operations for Melbourne United Mark Boyd replied to the allegation today on Twitter.

@BenFitz @rattlerspeak Hi Ben - no rules were broken, the club followed the league rules to the letter. Happy to clarify for you

— Mark Boyd (@markjboyd) January 13, 2017

@BenFitz @rattlerspeak The club applied for dispensation (as per rules allow) as due to injuries we couldn't field a full team, even with all Dev players in

— Mark Boyd (@markjboyd) January 13, 2017

Melbourne United announced American Lasan Kromah today, the import that had been signed and registered prior to Thursday night's contest. Kromah will be eligible for the NBL finals if he is placed on the active list of ALL of Melbourne's remaining seven regular season games.

United tackle the Cairns Taipans at the State Netball and Hockey Centre this Saturday night, a game that has been advertised as a sellout.