Injured Southland Shark Hayden Allen is set to miss yet another National Basketball League game but a return is not far away.
Allen has battled a groin injury for the past month. After a couple of weeks on the sideline, he attempted to make a return against Hawke's Bay but reaggravated the injury which forced him out again.
In conjunction with Sharks coach Judd Flavell and physio Hayden Sproat, it was decided Allen would return to Auckland and give him the time needed to rehab the injury to try to ensure he could get himself right for the crunch stage of the season.
Allen will link with the team again in Christchurch for the game against the Canterbury Rams on Saturday night but will watch from the bench.
Allen said the target was to return to play against the Taranaki Mountain Airs in Invercargill the following Friday night.
The 37-year-old, who is in his 20th season playing in New Zealand's NBL, admits he has struggled with watching.
"It's been very frustrating, I'm the worst at watching. I'm not very good at just watching the games," he said.
Last weekend's North Island road trip - where Southland lost to both the Wellington and the Super City Rangers and conceding 100 points in both games - was extra frustrating for Allen.
He said the losses after six straight wins has certainly put the team on notice.
"It was a bit of an eye-opener to where we are standing and there has been some soul-searching from all the boys from top to bottom.
"It is one of those ones where you live and learn, and to get to the championship we are going to have to go through one or both of those teams."
Despite the two losses on the road last weekend the Sharks still sit in second place and are almost certain of a playoff spot.
The key ingredient the Sharks will be searching for is momentum leading into the playoffs, and also confidence they can produce the goods on the road.
That quest starts against the Rams on Saturday night.
The Rams will be trying to avoid a third loss to the Sharks.
In the last meeting the Sharks in Christchurch beat the Rams 93-79.
It has been the fourth quarters where Southland has edged Canterbury in the first two fixtures between the two teams this season.
The Rams lost the fourth quarter by 11 in the first meeting, and then 12 in the second.
The Sharks-Rams game will tip-off at 7pm.
AT A GLANCE
What: National Basketball League
Who: Southland Sharks v Canterbury Rams
Where: Cowles Stadium, Christchurch
When: 7pm, Saturday
Article and image courtesy of The Southland Times/Stuff.co.nz