Melbourne United to back bench, won’t rush Casey Prather return


“The guys on the bench are starting to believe I trust them a little bit more,” Vickerman said.

“Sam Mac was really good last game and it took me a while to inject him into the game, I could have done a better job with him this game but with the other guys it’s starting to get to the point where you practise, you compete and whoever is getting it done on the floor will get their opportunity.

“That’s what I hope our guys are starting to believe.”

Acuil had 11 points and 13 rebounds in 21 minutes on Sunday after Long struggled to have his regular impact on the game, scoring five points in just 18 minutes.

Vickerman said he had faith in Acuil and Smith-Milner to hold down the back-up centre role while Alex Pledger was recovering from ankle surgery.

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“We trust these guys in the extra minutes and they grabbed it today,” Vickerman said.

Acuil felt comfortable in his extra minutes and said he’s ready to do whatever is needed and Vickerman praised his “pack rebounds” in which he used his size to reach up and bring in the ball over opposing players.

“I just tried to come in an do the little things and help the team as much as I can whether that was rebounds, blocked shots, whatever I could,” Acuil said.

“I honestly don’t know about those rebounds, the ball was just on the rim and I grabbed it. It’s that simple sometimes.”

Prather was ruled out Saturday but still did some training on Sunday and showed he is close to a return although whether that comes against the Taipans in Cairns on Friday night or the Kings in Sydney on Sunday remains to be seen.

“Casey was pretty close today. It’s day to day with him,” Vickerman said.

“He got a good workout before today’s game and it’s stupid for us right now, if he’s not 100 per cent, to put him out there.

“We don’t want him to have any more injuries, we want him perfect when he comes back.”

Melbourne United play Cairns in on Friday night then face ladder-leaders Sydney at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday.

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