San Miguel Beermen star June Mar Fajardo suffered a complete fracture on his right tibia during team practice on Monday and will be sidelined indefinitely, the team said in a statement.
"He was immediately brought to a hospital, where assessment on the extent of his injury and initial treatment were made," SMB said in a statement Wednesday. "He underwent successful surgery last February 4 and will be scheduled to go through post-operation rehabilitation to allow him to recover at the soonest possible time."
A team official, who requested anonymity, told ESPN5.com that Fajardo was going for a layup after an interception when he suffered the injury.
"During this rehabilitation phase, the team regrets that he won't be able to play for the San Miguel Beermen in the Philippine Cup," the statement said. "June Mar, for his part, is also saddened that he may not be able to join any upcoming international competitions. The San Miguel Beermen management is committed to ensuring that June Mar will get the best medical care, and would like to thank fans for the messages of concern and well wishes."
SMB coach Leo Austria said the team is preparing for the possibility Fajardo will miss the entire season.
"Probably one season, two conferences or one conference, it really depends on the healing time of his injury," Austria said. "What we want for June Mar is complete healing. If he's going to come back, he should be 100 percent. We will not force him because we all know how important June Mar is not only for San Miguel, but also for Philippine basketball."
His absence puts a massive dent on the Beermen's shot at rewriting history in the coming Philippine Cup, where the team is vying for an unprecedented sixth straight crown.
San Miguel's frontline is looking thin with only Moala Tautuaa and Billy Mamaril serving as the team's centers at the moment.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet. I hate to see one of my brothers go down in such a matter," Alex Cabagnot said. "It was definitely a sight to see. It was heartbreaking. You could hear a pin drop in this gym when that happened."
Fajardo was aiming for his sixth-straight MVP award, which would be a new record. The 30-year-old led all players in statistical points with 39.6 and is coming off a productive season-ending campaign where he averaged 18.8 points, 13.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per contest.
Fajardo's teammates reacted with dismay to the news.
"[E]verybody understands that injury is part of the process. It's just that June Mar is one of the nicest guys ever out there and that's what we are more heartbroken for," added Chris Ross. "Because he's such a great and humble guy despite all the success that he had in his career and everything he does, it's just tough to see someone like that suffering."