Former Silver Ferns skipper and Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic captain Casey Kopua may be out for the remainder of the ANZ Premiership season after suffering a foot injury.
Kopua was named in the Magic's starting seven before injuring her foot during the team's warm-up at Auckland's Pulman Arena.
With the raw combination of Katherine Levien and Kate Lloyd tasked with leading the defence end, Kopua's absence was felt as the Magic were defeated 56-51 by the Northern Stars.
Details of the injury are yet to be released by team management, but speaking with Sky Sport after the disappointing loss, Kopua looked emotional and said it was tough to watch her side from the bench.
"Especially after last week's performance, I know that the girls won't be happy with that, but I guess we get a [bonus] point out of that," Kopua said.
"I was feeling fine and then all of a sudden I just went to push off, I thought somebody had hit me but nobody was near me."
Kopua has had a rough run of injuries in recent years, with her most serious ailment coming in 2014, when she missed six months after dislocating her knee and rupturing her patella tendon during the Silver Ferns' Constellation Cup test loss to Australia.
Her most recent injury could be a major blow for the fourth-placed Magic, who have shown significant improvement and are a chance to make the top three and earn a spot in next month's playoffs.
Earlier in the season, fellow Magic defender Kelly Jury was ruled out for the season after dislocating her right shoulder. The Silver Fern is currently under orthopaedic review and is looking to schedule surgery within the next month to repair a labreal tear.
Magic attacker Sydney Fraser also suffered a season-ending injury when she ruptured her right Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) during a pre-season match against the Northern Stars.
- More to come.