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Fears allayed over Coles' slow return

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/05/2017

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd has shot down suggestions hooker Dane Coles is another key All Black battling to be fit to face the British and Irish Lions.

Captain Coles hasn't played since the round four win over the Highlanders on March 18, taking extra precautions to ensure he doesn't return prematurely from a calf tear.

Hurricanes management have described Coles as a 50-50 proposition to play in most weeks since yet his stint on the sideline continues to grow.

Boyd says the 30-year-old will almost certainly miss Friday's home match against the Stormers.

He is also doubtful to face the Crusaders in Christchurch a week later.

"If you get a shoulder injury, you can put a lot of load (pressure) through. But for Dane, and other forwards with a calf tear, you just have to be patient," Boyd said.

"He's had a history with his calves, that's why he wears his socks down.

"He's just trying to be as philosophical as he can."

Captain Coles hasn't played since the round four win over the Highlanders on March 18, taking extra precautions to ensure he doesn't return prematurely from a calf tear. © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Captain Coles hasn't played since the round four win over the Highlanders on March 18, taking extra precautions to ensure he doesn't return prematurely from a calf tear. The Coles update comes in the wake of two senior All Blacks loose forwards undergoing surgery which could impact on their availability for the Test series against the Lions.

Captain Kieran Read suffered a broken thumb in Bloemfontein while Jerome Kaino suffered a knee tendon tear.

Both are forecast to be available again about two weeks before the first Lions Test in Auckland on June 24.

Meanwhile, the defending Hurricanes continue to battle injuries elsewhere.

Boyd said fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder is still at least two weeks away from returning from a foot injury suffered in round four.

Lock Michael Fatialofa (knee) is unlikely to play until after the June international break while No.8 Blade Thomson is probably going to require a season-ending shoulder operation, mirroring his fate last season.

Video rovided by AAP NZ NewsWire

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