Newcastle Eagles have confirmed that guard Joe Chapman will miss the rest of the season, dealing a major blow to their title hopes.

It has been determined that the American sustained a ruptured Achilles tendon in Friday’s victory over Cheshire Jets when he fell awkwardly in the fourth quarter.

Chapman, the reigning BBL Player of the Year, had been the main component of the Eagles run of 13 unbeaten games, shaking off some early teething problems to form a hugely effective backcourt partnership with Trey Moore.

He will undergo surgery on Tuesday and the prognosis for an early return is poor.

With player-coach also Fab Flournoy out indefinitely while recovering from pneumonia, Newcastle will now look to sign a replacement ahead of the signing deadline at the end of this month.

“This leaves us short at the worst possible time of the season and we are now working to bring someone else in and build the roster because we can’t operate with these numbers,” said chairman Paul Blake.

“It affects the guys in practice during the week, not just in games.

“I know there will be a temptation for Fab to rush himself back but coming back earlier than planned is an absolute non-starter.”

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