Hawks centre Larry Davidson has been experiencing a strange sense of deja vu lately.
Injuries have become so prevalent among the Hawks that Davidson feels like he is back at the Hunter Pirates in 2006.
Davidson was just 23 back then and was in his second year in the NBL.
The Pirates were crippled by injuries that season, but they managed to scrape together 13 wins and clinch the final playoff berth.
Fourth-placed Wollongong (8-9) are facing a similar injury crisis and are hoping they can do enough to secure a finals invitation.
"My second year at the Pirates, we had a pretty long run of injuries. We got down to six players at one stage," Davidson said yesterday.
"The funny thing was we had a bunch of guys out injured, me included, and then we went to Adelaide and won a game that absolutely no-one expected us to win. I think we were basically pulling guys off the street. It seems like it's getting close to that stage here."
Indeed, the Hawks have three players - Tyson Demos, Rhys Martin and Lance Hurdle - out with knee injuries for tonight's home meeting with New Zealand.
A further three players - Davidson, Tim Coenraad and Dan Jackson - only returned from injury lay-offs in the past month.
"I was coming in every day at training counting the numbers to see how many we've got, but I've stopped doing that because it's depressing," Davidson said.
"Obviously you never want injuries, but if you've got one in each position you can probably handle it a bit better. When you lose so many guys in one position like we have, it's pretty tough to make up for that, but we've just gotta do it.
"It was pretty tough last weekend on the road without Rhys [Martin] and Lance, and now we've lost Tyse [Tyson Demos], so it'll be interesting."
Deleon will be the starting playmaker tonight, while Coenraad will start in the two-spot.
Coach Gordie McLeod's bench will effectively consist of three forwards - Jackson, Dave Gruber and Auryn MacMillan.
"One way to look at it, it can't get any worse," Davidson said.
"There's no point sitting around saying 'woe is me', we just have to go out and play and have some fun.
"It'll be interesting, something different. We'll have Sav [Glen Saville] bringing the ball up the court, running plays.
"We'll have some advantages playing Sav, Coenraad and Jacko in the two and the three spots. We'll have some mismatches there and get down in the post.
"We just have to try and make it work for us.
"Unless we roll out there with three guys ... if we've got five, then we're good.
"Once the game starts you're not even thinking about that. You get locked into the game and what's happening on the court."