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Highlanders winger Lucky Mulipola might not be so unlucky after all.
There could be a chance Mulipola plays for the Highlanders again this year despite breaking an arm in the opening game of the season.
The initial prognosis was Mulipola would be out for 10 weeks, effectively taking him out of the Super 14, but the outlook is now more positive.
Highlanders coach Glenn Moore said Mulipola was scheduled to see another surgeon about the injury.
‘‘We're pretty positive it could only be four to six weeks now. We just need to let the other guy have a look at it and see what he thinks.''
The Highlanders have the bye week in round five, which would be further reason to give Mulipola a chance to return if his injury healed well, Moore said.
If the recovery time is shortened, the Highlanders will probably resist calling another player into the squad. Moore said he had not been looking outside the region for a replacement, and he believes there is enough cover in the meantime.
Highlanders captain Craig Newby will not be available to play the Waratahs on Saturday but has been pencilled in for a return against the Hurricanes six days later.
Reserve hooker David Hall has a foot strain and is on light training duties, but lock-flanker Hoani MacDonald has recovered from a broken finger and is available for the Waratahs game.