Highlanders five-eighth Hayden Parker will miss the Super Rugby season after suffering a knee injury in pre-season training.
The Otago playmaker ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a similar injury to that which struck midway through the 2016 campaign.
Parker, 26, had only returned to full-time training in recent weeks.
"We are all pretty gutted for Hayden," coach Tony Brown said.
"He has worked so hard to get back to fitness and was really looking forward to the season. We wish him well with his rehab."
Parker has scored 86 points in 30 Highlanders appearances since 2013, playing largely as a back-up to All Blacks pivot Lima Sopoaga.
Experienced Tasman No.10 Marty Banks has been signed as a temporary injury replacement.