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Injuries add to pain for Highlanders

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/03/2017

Flankers and hookers continue to crumple at the Highlanders, with James Lentjes and Adrian Smith both set to be out for long periods.

The Highlanders' second home loss - 30-27 to the Crusaders on Saturday - has been followed by more grim injury news.

Openside specialist Lentjes dislocated his elbow in the first minute, and could be out for anything from six weeks to the rest of the season.

He will join fellow-No.7s Dan Pryor and Shane Christie on the sideline for Saturday's match against the Blues in Auckland.

Reserve hooker Smith didn't even make it onto the field, having torn a calf muscle during the warm-ups.

He is expected to be out for about eight weeks, joining injured rakes Ash Dixon and Greg Pleasants-Tate.

Highlanders fullback and captain Ben Smith missed Saturday's game and it is unclear when he will be fit after suffering concussion in the season-opening loss to the Chiefs.

Coach Tony Brown is bracing for another week of filling gaps.

"When you get hit, you get hit in the same area," he told journalists.

"All our loosies are out, all our captains are out. We're down to our sixth hooker. It is pretty sad really."

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