Sydney Kings coach Will Weaver hopes to get long-term casualties Kevin Lisch and Craig Moller back before the NBL finals, but he's becoming used to integrating rusty players into his rotation.
The Kings consolidated top spot on Sunday with a 17-point home win over South East Melbourne, despite again being without guard Lisch and big man Moller.
Lisch has played just four games this season due to ankle issues and hasn't taken to the court since December 8.
Moller last played on November 23 and subsequently underwent ankle surgery.
The Kings have five more regular season games left before the playoffs commence in the latter half of February.
"They (Lisch and Moller) are both on timelines where we hope as they progress we will see them before then (the finals)," Weaver said.
"Their ability to practice and be in full basketball hasn't returned yet, their ability to play five-on-five and be a normal participant, and so that means they are still a way off."
Weaver has got used to doing without players for a while during this first season in charge of Sydney
He had to wait for the best part of three weeks for Xavier Cooks to make his debut due to a knee issue.
Brazilian Didi Louzada has had a couple of spells out with back and calf issues, but on Sunday he produced one of his best NBL performances.
He topscored with 18 in Sydney's win in his third game back from his calf injury.
"His play today I thought was a big step up from what he did against New Zealand (last Friday), that's just the nature of recovering from injury," Weaver said.
"We had it play out with Xavier coming back from his absence, we're going to have it with Didi, we're going to have it with Kevin, we're going to have it with Craig
"(We're) getting great at that, understanding that you need to play and need to knock some of that rust off."
Weaver has also carefully managed the load off veteran centre Andrew Bogut leaving him at home for last Friday's game against the Breakers.
He had six points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes against Phoenix.
"I thought he gave us great energy right from the jump tonight and played with the kind of intensity that often times you do if you're feeling rested and fresh, although he did have a bit of a bug," Weaver said.
Australian Associated Press