Chiefs fullback Mils Muliaina doesn't need immediate surgery on his elbow injury and is a possibility to play the Highlanders on Saturday.

Muliaina lasted 37 minutes against the Crusaders in Christchurch before going off with a sore elbow - the same joint he has had problems with in the past. In that time he made three carries and delivered the quick lineout throw which resulted in Robbie Fruean's try.

It was a solid opening for the 100-test All Black after his time in Japan, and today he eased fears about the seriousness of his injury.

"I'm optimistic, I'm just going to try to get out there and be available,'' he told Radio Sport this morning.


Muliaina has been given the all clear from his surgeon, but is likely to need an operation on the joint at the end of the season.

The Chiefs host the Highlanders at Waikato Stadium after their gritty 18-10 victory over the Crusaders.

"I enjoyed the whole week,'' Muliaina said. "As a team there were opportunities we could have nailed. We didn't play as well as we could wanted to but to come away with a win against the Crusaders was really pleasing.''

The Highlanders will be upbeat after their 29-21 win over the Blues in Dunedin. The Chiefs have injury concerns, including Ben Afeaki and Brodie Retallick, but are likely to offer a less porous defensive line than the Blues.