Preparations for the Blues first Super Rugby final in 18 years are not running smoothly after Otere Black became the latest starter to join their casualty ward.
The Blues are already sweating on the fitness of influential blindside Tom Robinson and All Blacks prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi, both of whom are considered unlikely to take on the Highlanders at Eden Park in Saturday's transtasman finale.
Black sent a further scare through the Blues on Tuesday after taking a blow to his lower leg. The team immediately gathered around their popular playmaker, before he hobbled out of the remainder of training.
Black's calm head has been a guiding force throughout the Blues' unbeaten transtasman campaign and his recovery in the coming days will be closely monitored.
Blues assistant coach Daniel Halangahu initially attempted to downplay Black's knock by expressing faith in back up first five-eighth options Harry Plummer and Stephen Perofeta.
"It was precautionary," Halangahu said. "He's earned a bit of a rest from training. It doesn't look too bad at the moment, just a bit of a bruise, we expect him to be fully training on Thursday.
"Nothing serious, but enough to send the jitters through the coaching staff."
In something of a cheeky assertion perhaps designed to spark nerves in the Highlanders camp, Halangahu seemingly left the door open for Beauden Barrett's unlikely return to the Blues.
Timing is everything, and after emerging from quarantine last week Barrett trained with the Blues for the first time on Tuesday. Halangahu claimed Barrett could be called up if required but the Blues would need an exemption, and forwards coach Tom Coventry last week suggested a late SOS to their All Blacks playmaker would not be considered.
"I believe he is eligible, yes," Halangahu said. "There's a lot of questions going around about his availability but just having him around with his experience is great.
"We'll check on Otere, but having Beauden around is a good thing. We'll leave it at that."
Of more substance is the major void Robinson will likely leave after taking a head knock in the Blues patchy 31-21 victory over the Force last week.
While Akira Ioane is a more than handy replacement, Robinson's work-rate and energy is irreplaceable. Notably when he left the field in the opening minutes of their round eight Aotearoa match with another head knock the Blues lost to the Highlanders in Dunedin.
"He's going through the protocols around his head," Halangahu said. "It's really poor timing for Tom. The doctor is saying 50/50. The fact he's not training is concerning for us but at the same time we're hoping he'll be right for kick-off."
Halangahu all but confirmed Tu'ungafasi, who missed last week's victory, will not be fit for the final.
"If we need him, he'll play, but he's probably more of a 30/70. He's dealing with a pretty serious hand injury that's inhibiting him and a knee complaint."
Black's unexpected injury in particular has the potential to cause a serious distraction in what could be deemed the Blues most important week in almost two decades.
Approaching their sixth game in succession, it's certainly a case of walking wounded for the Blues. The Highlanders have injury concerns of their own with star wing Jona Nareki and towering lock Pari Pari Parkinson in doubt.
"The bodies are ready to go for the guys who are there but it's certainly testing the depth of our squad which you can see across the board.
"That's where the maturity of the group is really important. We've got guys who have been around now. Even someone like Leon [MacDonald] who has been there and done that as a coach and a player. He's been through this grand final week. What we've done these last six weeks has held us in good stead so that's what we need to keep doing."
For Blues No 8 Hoskins Sotutu, coming into form at the right time after claiming two tries against the Force, the chance to claim a Super Rugby title is close to his heart after his father, Waisake, inspired his dream to represent the region by being involved in the inaugural 1996 side to achieve the feat.
In recent times, though, the Blues have only succeeded in forging a reputation to underwhelm. This Blues side now has the chance to alter that view.
"Coming second is not an option," Sotutu said. "If we come second, it's the same as every other year.
"For the past few years there's been a lot of x-factor with the Blues and they've been expected to win and they haven't delivered so everyone is expecting that with every Blues team now.
"For us it's trying to change what everyone expects from us and what the perception is. Getting the win last week was another step in the right direction and getting the win this week would prove everyone wrong."