Andrew Hore scores against Wales in November, 2009
New Zealand have suffered another blow ahead of hosting Tests against Wales and Ireland in June with the loss of hooker Andrew Hore through injury.
Hore dislocated his shoulder during the Hurricanes' 32-16 Super 14 defeat against the Waratahs and is facing at least six weeks on the sidelines.
Keven Mealamu is expected to reclaim the All Blacks' number two jersey.
New Zealand are also without long-term injury victims Ali Williams (Achilles) and Sitiveni Sivivatu (shoulder).
All Blacks coach Graham Henry must also wait for news on the recoveries of Mils Muliaina (broken thumb), Corey Flynn, Tom Donnelly, Jason Eaton and Mike Delany from injury.
Hore, 31, who started 11 of the 14 Tests last year hopes to be available for the Tri Nations campaign against Australia and South Africa, but will otherwise target next year's World Cup in New Zealand.
"The medical staff were saying it could be six weeks or it could be six months," said out-going Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper.
"I'm not sure how bad it is to put a number on it. He's pretty determined to be an All Black again and hopefully take part in the World Cup.
"He's certainly got the character and resilience to come back."
Wales' Kiwi coach Warren Gatland will take a 27-strong squad to New Zealand for the two Tests, but must first contend with facing South Africa in Cardiff on 5 June.
Gatland's side face the Springboks at the Millennium Stadium before heading Down Under for Tests in Dunedin (19 June) and Hamilton (26 June).