The All Blacks will be without Isaia Toeava for up to six months after the versatile back was told he needed surgery on his hip.
Toeava, who has won 26 caps, was expected to be part of Graham Henry's 26-man squad for the Tests against Ireland and Wales.
However, the Blues ace will now undergo an operation to repair an injury to his hip after playing through the pain in the Super 14 this season.
"They say it will take about four to six months to heal, and while it's pretty disappointing, it's best I get it fixed now," Toeava told the New Zealand Herald.
The loss of Toeava is the latest setback for Henry, who is already without centre Ma'a Nonu for six weeks, while winger Sitiveni Sivivatu, locks Ali Williams and Jason Eaton, back Mike Delany and hooker Andrew Hore have already been ruled out with injury.
On top of that prop Tony Woodcock and centre Richard Kahui are struggling with injuries, while lock Tom Donnelly and full-back Mils Muliana lack match fitness after returning from injuries.