Perth Wildcats star Bryce Cotton ready to unleash on upcoming NBL season

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Craig O'DonoghueThe West Australian
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Bryce Cotton is all smiles as his body returns to normal after leg surgery.
Camera IconBryce Cotton is all smiles as his body returns to normal after leg surgery. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper/The West Australian

Three-time NBL MVP Bryce Cotton has declared his body is back to its best and he will start the season without any limitations after leg surgery forced a premature end to the most recent campaign.

Cotton suffered a serious leg injury in May after numerous collisions left him with a haematoma that required surgery. The star import said his leg only started feeling 100 per cent in late August but he was now feeling strong and fit again.

“I’m myself again,” Cotton said.

“It’s very exciting. Any time you go through an injury, especially that requires surgery, there’s a thought you try not to give too much attention to, but it floats in the back of your mind, am I going to fully recover?

“But our staff did a great job with me. We put plans in place and I made sure I stayed disciplined and did what they told me to do. My body is good again so I am happy as ever.”

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Cotton is set to be joined by former Houston Rockets guard Michael Frazier II as the Wildcats prepare to name their final import.

Frazier, 27, played 13 games with the Rockets during the 2019-20 season. Ironically, those games included matches against Boston, where new Wildcats coach Scott Morrison was an assistant, and Philadelphia where Wildcats General Manager of Basketball Danny Mills worked.

The American was named the NBA G-League’s Most Improved Player in 2018-19 after helping the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to the championship.

Wildcats vice-captain Mitch Norton could be available for the NBL Blitz in Tasmania on November 14. Norton also required post-season surgery on a hip injury but is back on court and progressing well.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 20: Mitchell Norton of the Wildcats looks on from the bench with Clint Steindl, Bryce Cotton and Luke Travers during game two of the NBL Grand Final Series between the Perth Wildcats and Melbourne United at RAC Arena, on June 20, 2021, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Camera IconThe Perth Wildcats were the walking wounded during the play-offs. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

The NBL Blitz will see the Wildcats, Brisbane, New Zealand, Adelaide, Cairns and the newly formed Tasmania JackJumpers spending two weeks in the Apple Isle and competing in four pre-season games.

Melbourne, South East Melbourne, Sydney and Illawarra will play elsewhere due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Norton said his rehab had been designed to be fit for round one and the NBL’s decision to delay tip-off from November 18 to December 3 would aid his recovery.

“It’s kind of given us a bit more of a buffer,” he said.

“But with everything we’ve had in place, I would have been right to go in round one anyway. It’s just going to allow me more time on the floor with the guys in pre-season.”

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