Matthew Dellavedova will suit up for NBL finals after surgery to remove wisdom teeth

A crucial surgery has Matthew Dellavedova primed to be ready for his first NBL finals series.

Melbourne United star Matthew Dellavedova is a certain starter for game one of the NBL semi-final series against the Tasmania JackJumpers after having surgery to remove three teeth in time for the playoffs.

Dellavedova missed last weekend’s upset 83-61 loss to the Tassie team that, after a Perth Wildcats loss, secured the NBL’s newest side a finals berth in their debut season.

An NBA championship winner with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dellavedova trained fully on Tuesday after the surgery to remove his wisdom team and will take on the JackJumpers on Thursday.

“I just had to get them out. I’m all good,” Dellavedova said after training.

United coach Dean Vickerman said it was important for Dellavedova to be pain free for the three-match semi-final series and the surgery would ensure he didn’t have to limit his star’s playing minutes.

“If he didn‘t have the surgery he was going to be dealing with painkillers and all kinds of things,” Vickerman said.

“So I think we made the right decision to go and get it done. He had three teeth out, so his mouth was pretty blown up.

“Probably 90 per cent of the swelling is gone, so he had a full day of practice today and he’ll be good to go.

“I don’t think he will be affected in any way.”

Veteran David Barlow is also set to return for United from concussion, with Jack White the only player under an injury cloud.

United’s poor showing against the Tasmanians last weekend contributed to their semi-final rematch, with Perth missing the finals for the first time in 35 years after losing in overtime to South East Melbourne Phoenix on Sunday.

The Wildcats would have been guaranteed of finishing fourth if ladder-leading United had beaten the JackJumpers.

But Vickerman was adamant he had no preference for their semi-final opponent, having beaten Perth in Perth this season.

“None at all. I never tried to play that game,” he said.

“It’s who earned it the most, and the JackJumpers did everything they could to put themselves in a position to win it.

“Once we knew who we were playing we had a pretty harsh review. We were poor in that game.

“I think the right four teams have made the semi-final series right now and I had no preference about who I played.”

Dellavedova said his goal in moving to United after so much NBA success was to win a championship.

“It‘s tough to only have four teams make the finals,” he said.

“We‘re definitely excited to be in, but the goal is to win a championship and that starts with Thursday night.”

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