Wollongong Hawks captain Oscar Forman has slam-dunked suggestions that injuries will gradually erode his side's hopes of a top-four finish.
Forward Tim Coenraad (foot injury) hasn't played all season and isn't due back for another fortnight. Guard Tyson Demos (knee) has appeared in just five of 12 games. And starting centre Larry Davidson (broken rib) has sat out the past two matches and could stay sidelined for most of January.
On the plus side, Demos is on schedule to return in Monday night's New Year's Eve clash with the Melbourne Tigers at WIN Entertainment Centre.
But the Hawks aren't sitting around whining.
Despite having lost three of their past four games, they share second spot with Perth and are itching to return to the court after an extended Christmas break.
"Hopefully we'll have guys coming back from injury over the next few games," Forman said.
"But we have to make sure we're steady and we're not just waiting for guys to come back.
"We're not going to use injuries as an excuse in any way, because we believe we've got a team that can get it done.
"It's time for us to show that. It's time for us to show we're not going to roll over and go, 'Oh Larry's out, so that's our excuse'."
The Hawks were one of the league's stronger rebounding sides while they were winning their first six games.
But they were terrible under the boards in the month leading up to their 16-day break and now rank as the competition's worst rebounding team.
Forman said it was up to him and fellow forwards Dave Gruber, Glen Saville and Auryn MacMillan to shoulder Davidson's workload under the boards
"Auryn's a big body and he's shown at training he's come along well," the 12th-year veteran said.
"But a lot of it still falls on Dave and myself in the big man department, so we have to make sure we manage our fouls and play consistently.
"We were decent on the rebounding in our first six games and the last six we've been very poor. So Melbourne are a team that's going to test us in the rebounding department because they attack the glass.
"We have to be solid in the rebounding and secure the ball."
The Tigers are seventh with a 3-8 record but are capable of causing problems for any opponent.
"They're a team that can explode on any given night for a lot of points," Forman said.