MELBOURNE United will be without star import Casey Prather for Sunday's clash with the Hawks in Wollongong, with the three-time championship-winner injuring his hamstring in his side's 23-point loss to the Kings on Saturday.
Prather left the floor in the fourth quarter and didn't return with scans on Sunday with the club later confirming a "medium" grade tear that will sideline him for 4-6 weeks.
It continues a frustrating run for the 28-year-old who missed United's opening seven games after undergoing minor knee surgery, his absence telling in his side's 1-5 start to the season.
Dillon Stith, who served as a short-term replacement for Prather in his first injury stint, will return to the squad.
The latest setback will leave the league heavyweights' vulnerable to the Hawks, who've been boosted by the arrival of new imports Darington Hobson and Billy Preston and will come in on an eight-day prep following their last-start loss to Brisbane.
Saturday's loss sees United at 8-7 on the season and still searching for consistency in a tight top-four race. Star guard Chris Goulding said his side will need to find some quick answers against a bolstered Hawks lineup.
"It's 48 hours so we're going to have to review [Saturday's loss] quickly and figure out what we did wrong," Goulding said.
"From there you throw it way and focus on the things we need to do against an Illawarra team that have been really good in a lot of games, they just haven't got over the line.
"With some players out for them, and some new guys in, they're going to be hyped, they're going to be ready to roll, so the challenge doesn't get any easier.
"That's what we need right now, we need to play against good opposition and figure this thing out."
The Hawks have well-publicised injury issues of their own, with star rookie LaMelo Ball sidelined for a month with a foot injury.
It's fed speculation he won't return to the floor this season - talk that will only subside if and when he does return to NBL action.
Monday's clash will be the first outing for Hobson and Preston, but Flinn hopes Ball's absence will allow the likes of Sunday Dech and Angus Glover - the latter coming off a career-best display - to continue their development.
"It's been a rough year with injury and this one is no different," Flinn said.
"It's extra disappointing because both [Hobson and Preston] were recruited to complement Melo so the timing is not ideal.
"That said, we're all professionals, we've all got jobs to do. One thing that's come out of this year despite our poor record at the moment is the way we can develop players.
"When one guy falls down it just gives opportunities to other guys. Emmett Naar, Sunday Dech, Angus Glover... these guys are going to get some significant opportunity now to show what they can do with some quality players around them.
"We're looking forward to see how that develops."