Johannesburg - Hopes of what was supposed to be the turnaround in the Lions’ Super Rugby season are now fading fast amidst a major injury crisis.
The newest player on the sidelines is experienced centre and vice-captain Doppies la Grange. He had surgery on his elbow on Monday and could face a lay-off of up to three months.
He left the field clutching his injured elbow in the 64th minute on Saturday's match against the Stormers at Coca-Cola Park.
La Grange’s injury means the Lions’ supply of centres has all but been exhausted with all their other specialist centres either injured in pre-season or recent matches. They are Alwyn Hollenbach, Waylon Murray and Dylan des Fountain.
Only Hollenbach does not have a long-term injury.
The Lions’ options are to keep fullback Jaco Taute at centre where he played in the nail-biting defeat to the Stormers.
Youngster Ruan Combrinck, who came on as a substitute against the Stormers, is also an option.
Butch James can also play at centre, a logical move if Elton Jantjies is fit to face the Crusaders this weekend.
Jantjies was back in training on Monday after a foot injury kept him on the sidelines. Scrumhalf Michael Bondesio could also be back in contention after recovering from a thigh injury.
Lions captain Josh Strauss should be fit to play despite fears he suffered a concussion after leaving the field against the Stormers.