OUT FOR THE SEASON because of a leg injury he suffered early this year, six-time Philippine Basketball Association most valuable player June Mar Fajardo said that he is making steady progress in his recovery albeit admitted to adjusting his rehabilitation routine because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Went under the knife in February after suffering a fracture on his right tibia during team practice, Mr. Fajardo, 30, is not expected to play until next season.

But his San Miguel Beermen squad is not feeling the pinch of his absence much as the league moved to suspend its current season in March with COVID-19 taking its root in the country, with a possible resumption not known until at least August.

Mr. Fajardo said just as the season is suspended he continues with his rehabilitation, reporting that as of now he can walk on his own.

Back in March at the opening of Season 45 of the PBA, Mr. Fajardo could hardly stand, needing to ride a scooter as he went on and got his sixth MVP plum at center court of the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“I’m doing okay. My injury is healing well. I can walk on my own and hopefully the good progress continues,” Mr. Fajardo said in Filipino as quoted by the official PBA Website.

The San Miguel big man, however, noted that rehab has been made challenging by COVID-19, with rehab and medical facilities remaining shot as community quarantine protocols to mitigate the spread of the respiratory disease still up in the National Capital Region.

And with that, Cebu native Fajardo is doing gym work at home for now.

“I still cannot work out on my lower body but on my upper body I can. I have some equipment at my house like dumbbells that I can work with,” he said.

With their key cog still in injury-ville, the San Miguel team said it is not going to rush Mr. Fajardo to come back and just allow him to rehabilitate fully.

The PBA decided to suspend the season on March 11 as COVID-19 started to take further toll in the country.

At the time of the suspension, only one game had been played in the season-opening Philippine Cup, that between defending champion San Miguel and the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, which the former won, 94-78.

It was hoping to resume action last month but found the conditions not yet suitable, including the government still maintaining strict protocols on mass gatherings like sporting events.

The league then decided to move making a final decision on the fate of the season in August, believing that by that time there will be a clearer picture on the COVID-19 situation. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo