New Zealand Breakers point guard Shea Ili will miss the start of the ANBL season due to a lower back stress fracture.
The 23-year-old is believed to have suffered the injury in the NBL, but only now have further scans and consultations confirmed a traumatic stress fracture which will leave him sidelined for at least six weeks before he can return to the practice court.
This means Ili will miss all of the preseason, as well as a portion of the regular season; a blow for the guard who moved his game to a new level after a superb NBL season with the Wellington Saints and an impressive campaign with the Tall Blacks.
Ili was set to start the season as the back-up point guard to American import Ben Woodside, with the only other specialist point guard in the organisation being development player Derone Raukawa.
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Breakers head coach Paul Henare says the injury may result in the franchise bringing in a short-term replacement.
"We are already looking at our options to bring a player in as injury cover on a short term deal and we have a few to consider, one of which is the possibility of a third import on a short term deal."
For now though, Raukawa may get some extra floor time as the Breakers prepare for three preseason games against the Brisbane Bullets next week.