Nehe Milner-Skudder has been ruled out for the rest of the Super Rugby season, dealing a major blow to the Hurricanes' hopes of repeating last year's success.
The All Black suffered a dislocated shoulder in his side's narrow win over the Blues on Friday night, with scans revealing he will need surgery on the joint.
After making an impact at Eden Park by setting up TJ Perenara's try with a deft kick, Milner-Skudder went down on his left shoulder early in the second half and was forced from the field.
The wing last year enjoyed a breakthrough campaign as he helped the Hurricanes qualify for the final, eventually playing an integral role in the All Blacks' World Cup success. The Hurricanes at least have the luxury of replacing Milner-Skudder with Cory Jane, depth that helped soften the blow for coach Chris Boyd.
"Losing Nehe is a blow and obviously disappointing for him, but we're really lucky in that we have a lot of depth in the outside backs," Boyd said. "When you can bring a 53-test All Black like Cory Jane into the team you aren't going too bad."
Jane will start on the right wing against the Force in Palmerston North on Friday night, one of four changes to the side who beat the Blues 23-19. More pleasingly for Boys on the injury front, captain Dane Coles will make his first appearance of the season after shrugging on hamstring and calf strains.
"We've been a little unlucky with our hookers so far this season with injuries, so it's great to have Colesy back on the park," Boyd said. "He's our leader, he's a guy who the team looks to for direction and he's itching to play."
Coles replaces Leni Apisai at hooker while Chris Eves takes over at loosehead prop after Reg Goodes was rested having come off for concussion testing against the Blues. The only other change sees Vaea Fifita takes over at blindside from Brad Shields, who will miss the Force match due to a lacerated thumb.
Hurricanes team to play the Western Force is on Friday, March 18:
15. James Marshall
14. Cory Jane
13. Vince Aso
12. Ngani Laumape
11. Julian Savea
10. Beauden Barrett
9. TJ Perenara
8. Victor Vito
7. Ardie Savea
6. Vaea Fifita
5. Mark Abbott
4. Blade Thomson
3. Jeff Toomaga-Allen
2. Dane Coles (c)
1. Chris Eves
Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli, Loni Uhila, Ben May, Michael Fatialofa, Callum Gibbins, Jamison Gibson-Park, Willis Halaholo, Jason Woodward.