The injury curse has continued for Auckland lock Ali Williams who is in doubt for Saturday's semi-final showdown with Wellington at Westpac Stadium.
The 75-test All Black veteran twinged a disc in his lower back and was forced to sit out of Thursday's training run, with a call to be made on his availability on Friday before the team flies down to the capital.
Auckland coach Wayne Pivac said it was frustrating for Williams who had only just returned to action following a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a knee injury.
"It's a semi-final and no matter what level of the game you're playing, people love playing in play-off games," Pivac said.
"So with the frustrating season he's had it's fair to say he's pretty disappointed but he's also realistic and we'll put the team first and he understands that."
Should Williams be ruled out, Andrew Van der Heijden will move into the starting XV with Nathan Hughes coming onto the bench.
Aside from Williams' possible absence, Pivac has made two changes to the Auckland team to face Wellington.
Liaki Moli replaces Andrew Van der Heijden at lock, while 19-year-old Joe Edwards will start at number eight in place of Nathan Hughes.
Auckland defeated Wellington 43-30 at Eden Park in Round Nine of the competition, but Pivac said the Lions would be a much tougher beast playing at home.
"If you look at the competition, the games lost by most teams have been away from home funnily enough. Everyone's got a pretty good record at home including Wellington so they'll be a lot more difficult down there I'd imagine.
"They've made a couple of changes to their backline which seems to have gone really well in past weeks with Charlie Ngatai at the back. He's got a very good kicking game so we've had to look at how we approach the game with the changes they've made and certainly we think they'll be a very tough nut to crack down there."
Auckland: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Dave Thomas, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Joe Edwards, 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams/Andrew Van der Heijden, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: Nathan Vella, Siosiua Halanukonuka, Van der Heijden/Nathan Hughes, Sean Polwart, Scott Patterson, Simon Hickey, Lolagi Visinia.
Date: Saturday, 20 October
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Bryce Lawrence
Assistant referees: Richard Kelly, Glen Whitley
Television match official: Rob Lord