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Abercrombie injury gives Henare NBL grief

AAP logoAAP 21/12/2016 Angelo Risso

Tom Abercrombie had never broken a bone in his life.

So for the New Zealand swingman to break his hand in a routine scrimmage just six days before Christmas, while his side chases the top four, it's hardly ideal.

Abercrombie, 29, has been one of his NBL side's stand-out performers in a below-par campaign, scoring 12.6 points a game.

But he came unstuck on Monday when chasing through a defensive screen at training and getting his hand caught in an opponent's singlet.

The resulting fracture, which Abercrombie told reporters was a clean one, will keep him out of the game for up to six weeks.

It may even make unwrapping Christmas presents a challenge.

"It couldn't have come at a worse time, but what can you do?" Abercrombie said.

"I've just got to do anything I can to help these guys now, and it just means opportunities for other guys."

Abercrombie's injury creates even more headaches for coach Paul Henare, who is already grappling with the losses of Ben Woodside and Corey Webster.

He'll now look to 21-year-old small forward Finn Delany to pick up the slack, as well as fringe players Jordan Ngatai and Ethan Rusbatch.

Another import player will also be brought in to shore up numbers, with Henare looking at players in the United States, Europe and Lebanon.

"Obviously Finn's minutes have been very sporadic during the season because he's in that position on the roster, but all of a sudden he's been elevated," Henare said.

"I think he's been waiting for this."

Henare's troops enjoyed a light training session on Wednesday, including a hit of cricket, before breaking for the festive period.

They'll reunite on Boxing Day to begin their preparations for next weekend's clash in Sydney with the third-placed Kings.

A win on Australian soil could allow the fifth-placed side, languishing in seventh barely a fortnight ago, to sneak into the NBL top four.

"It's important to push the reset button and freshen up mentally and also physically, but we'll get straight back into it," Henare said.

Henare also expressed his pleasure in seeing the NBL grand final, previously a three-game series, stretched to five matches this year.

He hoped to be part of it in his debut NBL coaching campaign and take the Breakers to their sixth finals appearance in seven seasons.

"It almost becomes a bit of a chess match, in terms of slight adjustments and changes from game to game," Henare said.

"At the end of it you can say that, if you win that thing, you've earned it and you deserve it."

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