The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic have been dealt another injury blow with captain Casey Kopua ruled out for the remainder of the 2018 ANZ Premiership season.
The former Silver Ferns captain was a late withdrawal from last Wednesday night's game against the Northern Stars after injuring her foot in the warm-up.
Kopua underwent an MRI on her foot with results confirming a tear to the plantar fascia, an injury which could require up to eight weeks of rehabilitation.
Magic Coach Margaret Forsyth said it was devastating news for the team which had already lost Silver Ferns defender Kelly Jury and attacker Sydney Fraser to season-ending injuries.
"It is a blow for the team as Casey is such an integral member of the Magic team both on and off the court," she said.
"Our wider squad has had to step up this season due to a number of injuries and while she will be missing on court for us, Casey will remain with the team as she brings a wealth of knowledge, encouragement and support from the sideline."
The injury is a cruel blow to the former Fern who missed six months of netball after dislocating her knee and rupturing her patella tendon during the Silver Ferns' Constellation Cup test loss to Australia in 2014.
Kopua, who has been one of the Premiership's leading defenders for deflections, intercepts and rebounds this season, will focus on her recovery and mentoring the Magic's defensive efforts in what will be a demanding finish to their regular season.
Waikato-Bay of Plenty CEO Rohan West said Casey would remain a vital member of the side as they moved into the final stages of the ANZ Premiership season.
"Everyone in the organisation and the Magic family is devastated for Casey, and wish her a very speedy recovery. She was playing at an incredibly high level this season, and the supporters were loving seeing her take the court," West said.
"Adding Casey to our long list of injuries is another blow, but we'll regroup and rally around the team for the final push towards the playoffs."
"The support for the team this season has been tremendous – all four home games so far have had attendance in excess of 2000. I'm positive the wider Magic family will continue to fill the arenas in great numbers to roar on the team."
The Magic remain in contention for next month's finals and are currently sitting fourth on the points table.