All Blacks centre Ma'a Nonu will miss most of the Tri-Nations series after breaking his left thumb.
Nonu played at centre in the first Test against Ireland
Nonu faces at least six weeks on the sidelines after sustaining the injury playing club rugby for Wellington.
He will definitely miss the first three matches of New Zealand's Tri-Nations campaign, which begins against Australia in Christchurch on Saturday.
Midfield is a problem area for New Zealand and Mils Muliaina is likely to start at centre against the Wallabies.
Former captain Tana Umaga retired in January while Conrad Smith broke his leg in February and is not expected back until later this year.
We have to keep raising the bar and demand a high standard
All Blacks manager Darren Shand
Nonu played at centre in New Zealand's opening Test of the year against Ireland, Casey Laulala filled the role in the second Irish Test and Isaia Toeava wore the number 13 jersey against Argentina last week.
Meanwhile, the All Blacks have been given a stern lecture by team management to ward off complacency ahead of the Tri-Nations.
Team manager Darren Shand held a three-hour meeting with the players to "put a dictate down" after unconvincing displays against Ireland and Argentina.
"We don't think the way we prepared was good enough, that's right across the group," Shand said.
"We have to keep raising the bar and demand a high standard. We don't think we had those levels previously."