TALL goal shooter Romelda Aiken has been withdrawn from the senior squad for the 2012 Fast5 Netball World Series in Auckland, New Zealand from November 9-11 after sustaining a fracture to her right hand during training and will be out of action for six weeks.
Team doctor Praimanand Singh said Aiken, who returned to the team a few months ago following the ANZ Championships in Australia, suffered an oblique displaced fracture to her fourth right metacarpal bone.
"This will require a surgical intervention and subsequent rehabilitation. As a result... she will be unable to participate in any netball activities for six weeks," he said.
Head coach Oberon Pitterson-Nattie told the Jamaica Observer Aiken's presence will be missed.
"It definitely has a big impact losing Romelda's because we all know her capability and (now) having to find a replacement that can do the job," she said.
"Shooting will be important. Not having Romelda really puts a dent in the situation right now. (It is) a huge loss because we're not only losing a player, but we're losing a quality shooter."
While nine players remain on the squad named last weekend, Pitterson-Nattie said the new format of the game which will feature only five players on court instead of the seven in a normal game playing in four quarters of six minutes each, means a replacement must be speedily found.
"It is pressuring because this new Fast Five is very strategic... you have to be thinking on your feet. It's very different and you have to know how to get the ball to work for you.
"The game is only five persons, so it's a lot of work on the mid-court players, so you always want enough persons to rotate at all the positions and right now it will put a lot of work on the goalshooter or goal attack because that's where Aiken played.
"We (also) have to select power play prior to the start of the match and power play must be taken in the same quarter," she added.
Pitterson-Nattie said a possible replacement has already been identified for the team which departs on November 3, but the requisite permission needs to be given for the player to be released from school obligations for that period.
The coach, a former player herself, said she was pleased with the team's preparations since their return from a three-Test series in England last month.
"Certainly I'm pretty satisfied. Preparation has been going well. They have been working pretty hard and fitness will tell."
The Fast5 replaces the FastNet competition which has been played in England for the last three years.