NEW Zealand rugby officials are assessing the crippling injury that has sidelined star flyhalf Dan Carter for at least six months, saying there was no deadline for his return.
All Blacks manager Darren Shand said team doctor Deb Robinson and physio Peter Gallagher had been in touch with Carter and officials at his French club Perpignan after the pivot ruptured his Achilles tendon.
"Dan's now resting at home in Perpignan and it's probable that he will need surgery but a full assessment will be made over the next few days," Shand said in a statement.
The 26-year-old Carter, a 59-Test veteran and 2005 world player of the year, suffered the injury in the dying stages of Perpignan's 13-13 draw with Stade Francais on the weekend.
"It's hugely disappointing for Dan," Shand said.
"He was really enjoying playing in France. He's getting fantastic support from the Perpignan team who have been really supportive and keeping us well briefed."
A spokesman for Perpignan, which signed Carter on a six-month deal worth a reported $A70,000 per match, said he would be unavailable for about six months.
The injury came in his first game back after a three-week absence because of an earlier Achilles strain and means he is now doubtful for at least the early stages of the Tri-Nations series.
Shand said Carter could be out for longer than six months.
"As a general rule of thumb, players who suffer a severe Achilles injury are out of rugby for at least six months but it can be longer. Dan will return to rugby when he is ready and we will support him throughout his rehabilitation."
The New Zealand Rugby Union granted Carter the sabbatical to play in France as part of the contract negotiations which saw him re-sign through to the 2011 Rugby World Cup.