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Novosel joins Blicavs, Griffin on sidelines

MAC Adelaide Lightning have suffered a horrific blow to their chances of returning to WNBL playoff action with star import Natalie Novosel suffering an ACL tear against Melbourne.

It is the second time the 180cm versatile all-rounder has been cut down by the same injury, the first time in a club game for Sturt Sabres in Adelaide's Premier League in August, 2014.

Novosel, 28, is devastated, having not only made a successful comeback from the initial injury to be a key player for Chris Lucas in Townsville Fire's 2015-16 WNBL champion, but to also be playing some of the best basketball of her career now under him again in Adelaide.

In Townsville on Thursday, she was instrumental in Adelaide's shock 79-64 win, with 21 points at 56 per cent, four assists and five steals.

Her defensive work and all-round basketball IQ have been one of the keys in Lightning's 2017-18 resurgence.

ACL SHOCK: Natalie Novosel in action for Lightning against Bendigo.

She was playing well in the 62-64 loss to Melbourne at the Lighthouse on Saturday until she fell making a baseline drive in the first half.

Despite a valiant attempt to play in the second half, it quickly was apparent the injury was serious, scans today confirming the worst possible diagnosis.

"I'm so disappointed for her," Lucas said. "Her game in Townsville ... she just played a super game to really bring us home.

"She was the best player on the court. This is just devastating for Nat and also leaves a huge hole for us."

Novosel has been playing both the two and three spots for Lightning, which already lost four-time Olympian Laura Hodges early in the season to a severely broken finger.

It has robbed Adelaide of two of its most experienced campaigners.

Captain Abby Bishop injured her ankle in Townsville and is having scans for a hand injury, while playmaker Aimie Clydesdale is being managed due to a knee problem.

"It's not ideal," Lucas said. "But we can only hope Nat makes it back as strongly as she did the last time."

Novosel played her college basketball at Notre Dame and for the Washington Mystics in the WNBA.

She played for Dandenong Rangers before being signed by Adelaide. But she suffered her initial ACL tear, putting an end to that dream.

After a year of rehab, she was recruited by Townsville and played in the Fire's championship.

She spent last season with Dandenong before again joining Adelaide and, tragically, the same shocking fate has befallen her.

Novosel is another in a growing list of WNBL stars to have gone down with season-ending injuries, joining Opals pair Sara Blicavs (ACL) and Kelsey Griffin (hip) as a spectator for the rest of the season.

Dec 11

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