Lions skipper Sam Warburton is an injury doubt for the opening tour match against the Barbarians in Hong Kong with a knee problem with Ireland's Paul O'Connell set to deputise as captain.

Warburton sustained the injury last week prior to flying to Hong Kong and will be assessed before a decision is made over whether he will be rested for the opening match against a Barabarians side who lost 40-12 to England last weekend.

Sam Warburton
Warburton could miss the weekend's opening tour match. erft

"Sam had a slight bump in training last week and we just want to give him time before Saturday," assistant coach Rob Howley said.

"We will assess it over the next 24 hours. The bump was to his knee. It's just a bit puffy, that's all.

"There is a lot of strength in depth within the 37 [squad] players and the quality we have in the back-row is there for all to see."

Lock O'Connoll, captain during the tour to South Africa in 2009, is likely to take Warburton's place as skipper this Saturday after being initially overlooked to lead the tour.

The 33 year old said of Warburton last week: "Having spent a week with him it seems to me he'll be fine.

"I was 25 on the 2005 Lions tour to New Zealand and was probably a lot more naive than Sam. He's quite a wise guy, wise beyond his years."