The Highlanders will be without their most experienced forward in Brad Thorn, who will miss three to four weeks with a rib injury.
Thorn, who has played over 110 Super Rugby matches and is a 60-Test All Black, came off the field in the first half during the Highlanders' second-round win against the Blues at the weekend.
While the news isn’t ideal for the Highlanders, their other starting lock - Jarrad Hoeata - had an impressive game, while Josh Bekhuis is an option to start.
Flank Gareth Evans eventually finished the game at lock for the Otago-based franchise, and will be another player Jamie Joseph might look at to start in what was an impressive tight five for the winning Southerners.
Thorn is expected to be back playing by mid-March, likely for the game against the Hurricanes at Forsyth Barr Stadium.