Not wanting Gaara to fight by himself, Lee tries to help and attacks Kimimaro to try and provide an opening for him. Gaara restrains him and instructs him to not interfere, saying he doesn't need the help, especially from someone in Lee's condition. Kimimaro, seeing that Gaara does not rely on taijutsu like his two opponents, contemplates how to respond. He is quickly captured with Gaara's sand and crushed, but by activating the first stage of his cursed seal and strengthening his bones, he avoids death. Gaara tries once more, using even more sand to crush Kimimaro and the surrounding area, but Kimimaro again survives.