The Hurricanes are bracing to be without star winger Hosea Gear for several weeks after he injured his knee in the Super 14 rugby opening round.
Gear suffered knee cartilage damage and was replaced during their 34-20 defeat of the Blues at Albany, a match in which he starred and scored a decisive intercept try.
He has been ruled out this Saturday's match against the Western Force but further assessment may well see the two-test All Black sidelined for longer. David Smith or Andre Taylor will start in Gear's place on Saturday while wider training squad member Alapeti Leuia has been called into coach Colin Cooper's squad.
Gear's promising 2009 campaign was ruined when he tore a ligament in the seventh round.
Also in doubt for the Force match is first five-eighth Willie Ripia, whose shoulder injury may open the door to a starting berth for national age group star Aaron Cruden.
The match should mark the return of veteran All Blacks No 8 Rodney So'oialo, who missed the Blues match to further his pre-season weight gain programme.