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Hurricanes star to miss season opener
ESPN Staff
February 9, 2014
Brad Shields of the Hurricanes on his way to scoring a try, Hurricanes v Western Force, Super Rugby, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, April 19, 2013
Brad Shields is likely to miss the Super Rugby season opener as well as the Hurricanes tour of South Africa © Getty Images
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Hurricanes loose forward Brad Shields has suffered a medial collateral ligament tear in his left knee and is likely to miss the opening week of the Super Rugby season. Shields went down injured in the opening stages of a 24-22 Super Rugby preseason loss to the Rebels in Geelong on Saturday, while wing Matt Proctor was also assisted off with an ankle injury.

Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett said both players would have further scans this week. "At this stage the reports are Brad has a grade two MCL. I'm not quite sure how long that means he'll be out," he told stuff.co.nz. "Initial inspections suggested the knee wasn't too loose but he will have to have a scan to confirm that.

"Matt Proctor twisted his ankle and once again we'll have a better idea over the next week how he pulls up. Brad's probably the more serious one at this stage."

A grade two MCL tear usually means at least two to four weeks on the sidelines, which will keep Shields out of next week's final preseason trial against the Crusaders in Levin and puts him in doubt for the Highlanders' tour of South Africa where they will play the Sharks and Stormers.

"I guess it's just how hard he plays the game," Hammett said. "He's been going well, he's as fit and strong as he's been, so hopefully this doesn't put him out too long."

Injuries aside, Hammett was putting a positive spin on a match in which the Hurricanes outscored the Rebels three tries to two.

"I thought we well and truly outplayed them. They took shots at goal where we didn't really take shots," he said. "The score is a bit irrelevant but the big thing for us was we wanted an improvement on last week. We wanted attitude and intensity."

The Rebels had been training since October and had no international players to ease into action, Hammett said.

"The level of intensity compared to the week before against the Blues seemed like double. It was a good effort considering 11 of our squad were having their first hit out of the year."

Fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder got his second try in as many matches for the Hurricanes, with openside Ardie Savea and Proctor scoring the visitors' other tries.

Most of the Hurricanes' returning All Blacks managed half a match and would probably play more minutes against the Crusaders in Levin on Friday.

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