Ma'a Nonu is set to miss New Zealand's Tests next month after suffering a knee ligament injury laying for Super 14 side the Hurricanes.
Nonu will join Hurricanes team-mate Andrew Hore on the sidelines for the All Blacks' Tests against Ireland and Wales after picking up the injury against the New South Wales Waratahs.
The midfield back ruptured the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in last Friday's 32-16 loss in Sydney which ended the Hurricanes' campaign.
At this stage it is not anticipated the hard-running inside centre will require surgery and he is expected to return to full training in approximately six weeks, meaning he will miss matches against Ireland on June 12 and the doubleheader with Wales on June 19 and June 26.
Hore dislocated his left shoulder midway through the first half of the disappointing defeat at the Sydney Football Stadium and is awaiting a decision on whether he will require surgery.
Nonu joins a growing list of senior players unavailable to All Blacks coach Graham Henry.
He is already without Hore, lock Ali Williams (Achilles) and wing Sitiveni Sivivatu (shoulder) for the year because of injury, while full-back Mils Muliaina is recovering from a broken thumb.
Nonu was a key figure for the All Blacks last year and started in all but two of the 14 Tests.
Luke McAlister, who started at 12 when Nonu was rested, has been dogged by injury during the Blues' Super 14 season and is not guaranteed to be fit come June.
Stephen Donald has also been used at inside centre by Henry but has had a mixed Super 14 season at the under-performing Chiefs, while Hurricanes utility and one-Test All Black Tamati Ellison is heading to Japan and is out of contention.
Blues back Stephen Brett, who was called into the All Blacks camp as injury cover last year but never used, is now firmly in the running when Henry names his 26-man squad at the end of the month.