The Wales international has not featured for the Lions since their opening tour game against New Zealand Provincial Barbarians due to an ankle injury.
After sitting out the defeat to the Blues in midweek and Saturday's win over Crusaders in Christchurch, Warburton is expected to be used against Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium as preparations continue for the first test against New Zealand on June 24.
"A lot has been made about Sam not being involved," Gatland told reporters. "We will probably give him a run on Tuesday. He needs some game time.
"It has been a tough week. There has been a lot of criticism: people had written the tour off after two matches. That has been challenging and we have had to stay tight within the group. I hope we haven't disappointed too many people with that result tonight."