The SKYCITY Breakers are no strangers to adversity, they are the first to acknowledge that you need to rely on depth to win a championship, and the last to complain if injuries push them to their limits, preferring instead to focus on the opportunities presented to other players when extra minutes beckon.

And this season is proving no different, with a variety of injuries meaning the coaching team (and medical team) are working more than a little overtime to find ways to stay competitive - and they are doing just that in a tightly congested league table, sitting just one win off a play-off position with ten games to play in the regular season.

Head Coach Paul Henare is not fazed by what has been thrown at his team this season, if anything he appears energized by the challenge and the opportunities presented to players on the roster.

"We dont dwell on injuries or unavailability, that has never been our way and it wont change under my watch. We focus on the players we have available for any given game and leave the others to their rehab and work with our medical team.

"Already this season we have seen players step up and take opportunities that might not otherwise have come their way. Despite a delayed start to his season Shea Ili is getting the chance to lead this team and I thought did superbly against Sydney.

"Finn Delany probably came in this season with more of a watch and learn brief, but he has been given a chance to not only play big minutes, but to do so as a starter and we have complete faith in his ability to do a great job for this team - we have seen that already and on Friday night saw a growing maturity in a very good young player who is only going to get better with further opportunities."

The next opportunity for players to show their ability to step up and keep the club in play-off contention comes this Friday in Cairns, before a first home game of the 2017 year at the North Shore Events Centre on Sunday afternoon (5pm tip off).

Henare is confident he has the players to not only compete, but to win in Cairns and maintain their challenge for another shot at a post-season for the four-time championship winning outfit.

"This week is another big challenge but one that we as coaches and I know the playing group are ready for and keen to take on. Cairns are a strong team and not out of the play-off picture, as with any team a couple of wins pushes you up the ladder while a couple of losses for anyone has the opposite effect, you simply must be ready every game.

"We will have another few days of practice with Paul (new American Paul Carter) as he comes to terms with us and what we are trying to achieve, but I thought he brought plenty to the Sydney game. Regardless who it is that suits up on Friday and then at home on Sunday, they know they are here because they are good enough to compete with anyone in this league and will take to the court with one thing in mind - that is winning."

Of those not involved against Sydney Tom Abercrombie continues to do well in his recovery from a broken bone in his right hand, the swingman is two weeks into a four-to-six week estimated rehabilitation from the freakish injury and while not able to use the hand, has been working hard on his aerobic fitness and leg strength. A return to playing for Abercrombie is still very much an estimate until the hand is tested under pressure, but he is on track given those early estimates.

Ben Woodside is another undergoing a lengthy time out, with the American point guard staying in New Zealand to rehab his ruptured plantar fascia injury. He has come out of the moon boot and is now walking without pain. There is no talk however of a return this playing season for Woodside, with much work to be done yet before any timeline can be accurately applied to Woodside.

Woodsides replacement David Stockton joined those courtside after just a couple of minutes of the game in Sydney last Friday. The American has a lower back injury that was aggravated in that game, leaving him to play no further part on the night. There has been no decision made as to Stocktons availability this week, as the guard undergoes further tests and treatment early this week in an effort to prove his fitness and further assess the extent of the injury.

Meanwhile Corey Webster is continuing to explore his options to recover his fitness after he was placed on injury waiver just prior to Christmas, with the shooting guard struggling with a number of injuries including a troublesome hip complaint that has restricted his movement this season.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Basketball New Zealand