Blues lock Ali Williams will be sidelined with injury for at least a month, leaving him in serious doubt for the All Blacks' three rugby tests in June.
Medical staff yesterday diagnosed Williams as having suffered micro-tears in his Achilles tendon early in Friday's 45-27 loss to the Hurricanes. The 28-year-old, who has started in only five games this season, has been told the injury could keep him out of action for four to six weeks.
It leaves him a doubtful starter for the All Blacks' first test of the year, against France at Dunedin on June 13. They play France in Wellington a week later, followed by Italy at Christchurch on June 27.
The Blues have also lost lock Anthony Boric for the season with a toe injury.
It will leave the All Black selectors running their eyes over the next tier of locks.
Crusaders veteran Brad Thorn is a probable selection while Hurricanes pair Jason Eaton and Jeremy Thrush, Chiefs workhorse Craig Clarke and athletic Crusader Isaac Ross will come into the picture.