‘Song Gyo-chang? Please forget about it for now.’
Now that the 2023-2024 season of the Korea Basketball League (KBL) has entered the second round, a new topic of interest is the ‘effect of returning veterans.’ Heo Hoon (Suwon KT), Ahn Young-jun (Seoul SK), Song Kyo-chang (Busan KCC), and Kim Nak-hyeon (Daegu Korea Gas Corporation) are returning from military service with a sense of power that can influence their team’s performance, making it more fun to watch. Youngjun Ahn scored 16 points (including 4 3-pointers) in his return match against KT on the 18th, leading the team to a huge win (102 to 87). SK, which has been highly dependent on Jamil Warney, is more than happy to see that it can diversify its tactics with the return of Ahn Young-jun. Heo Hoon, who played as an ‘enemy’ on this day, made a hot comeback by showing off his unwavering power with 26 points, 4 assists, and 3 interceptions, even though the team lost.
On the other hand, KCC is still in tears. Even though Song Kyo-chang, who is considered one of the ‘Big 3’ veterans along with Ahn Young-jun and Heo Hoon, is yet to know when he will enjoy the effect of his return, it is ‘Ha Se-wol’.
According to the KCC team on the 20th, it was reported that Song Kyo-chang’s return to the first-team court would be later than originally expected. After examining the condition of Song Gyo-chang’s injury, who joined the team immediately after being discharged from the military on the 15th, it was found to be more serious than expected.
For this reason, the KCC club, which had expected Song Kyo-chang to be able to play around the end of November, changed its position to ‘the timing of his return is unknown.’ There was a good reason why KCC coach Jeon Chang-jin expressed his frustration about Song Kyo-chang’s return at a media meeting held before the Anyang Jeonggwanjang game on the 19th, saying, “We don’t know yet. There is no schedule.” Song Kyo-chang, who was selected to the Hangzhou Asian Games national team, injured his right knee during a practice match against Samsung in Seoul on September 1. As a result of a detailed examination, he was diagnosed with a posterior cruciate ligament injury, and he withdrew from the national team.
The bad luck continued afterwards. It was thought to be a minor injury as it did not require surgery or a cast, but recovery was slow. He said the pain did not go away and he was still complaining of discomfort even after returning to the team. He has been waiting for a natural recovery for nearly four months, but it is reported that he is only able to run now due to the remaining pain.
As a result, the KCC team is ‘growing and surprised.’ Since the memory of Song Kyo-chang suffering from a serious finger fracture two years ago is still vivid, we have no choice but to be more careful in managing Song Gyo-chang’s injury. He said that if he hurriedly said that the current team situation was urgent, he could suffer greater losses, and he also had to protect the lives of the players. The club plans to carefully check Song Kyo-chang’s physical condition in the D-League game against Changwon LG on the 21st and Wonju DB on the 22nd.
Even if the test result is judged as ‘good’, the problem does not end here. A club official explains that Song Kyo-chang’s game sense must be improved from a virtually blank slate. Song Kyo-Chang was so focused on rehabilitation that he couldn’t even touch his ball properly. Since his injured leg was also his leg, he also needs to supplement his lower body strength, which is essential for a player. Even if the pain is completely cured and basic strength is restored, the organizational strength of ‘team’ KCC must be matched. This is why we have no choice but to take the ‘frustrating’ position that we do not know when Song Kyo-chang will return. In fact, KCC has a big difference in team strength depending on whether Song Kyo-chang is present or not. Song Kyo-chang is back, but he is not in the team’s strength. Attention is focused on how KCC will overcome the crisis. Reporter Choi Man-sik [email protected]