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Breakers boss confounded by injury toll

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/09/2016 Angelo Risso

Despite guard Corey Webster's 19 point contribution, Croatia denied the Tall Blacks a win © File photo/Getty Despite guard Corey Webster's 19 point contribution, Croatia denied the Tall Blacks a win Breakers boss Paul Henare says he's struggling to put a finger on why so many of his troops have suffered pre-season niggles.

Star guard Corey Webster is struggling with back and hip complaints, while swingmen Kirk Penney and Tom Abercrombie have calf and back injuries respectively.

New import Ben Woodside is also experiencing issues with his heel.

The quartet of crocked Breakers are joined by guard Shea Ili, who will miss his side's Australian NBL season opener against Melbourne United with a back injury.

The former development player has been replaced by Australian guard Isaih Tueta on a short-term deal.

Henare told reporters on Wednesday he'd challenged his medical staff to review their procedures as the injury toll mounts.

However he wasn't too concerned and said most players would be back by October 7.

"You try and squeeze as much together as you can in a pre-season but maybe the workload was a little bit too much last week," Henare said.

Henare, who also coaches the Tall Blacks, acknowledged the knocks had set his side's pre-season preparations back a notch.

The absence of Webster, Penney and Abercrombie had stunted the side's on-court chemistry and combinations.

Webster and Penney played no part in their side's 86-77 pre-season loss to the Brisbane Bullets in Invercargill, while Abercrombie lasted barely a minute.

The loss marked the end of a miserable three-game series against the Bullets, having been defeated in all three games on home soil.

Henare assured fans the results meant little at this point in the year, but did admit they left a bitter taste in the mouth.

"It did highlight some errors we need to work on, especially down low with the big boys, the points on the paint and the rebound count," Henare said.

The Breakers will travel to Brisbane for this weekend's inaugural pre-season Australian Basketball Challenge.

The side will play Sydney Kings on Friday, before tussling with Cairns Taipans on Sunday and Adelaide 36ers on Monday.

Henare said he was simply looking for improvement from his ravaged squad, which will again call on development players Derone Raukawa and Ethan Rusbatch.

Woodside, who joined the club from Ankara-based club Turk Telekom, echoed his coach's remarks.

He also said he'd look to play through his heel complaint.

"We were only together for 12 days before we played three games, so a lot of it is timing and getting in the offensive flow," the 31-year-old American said.

"It's pre-season and that's what the games are there for, to improve and to get better."

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