Star All Black wing Nehe Milner-Skudder will miss the rest of this year's test campaign and part of Super Rugby next year.
The livewire player dislocated his right shoulder against the Springboks in Cape Town on Sunday, the latest in a string of injuries in the last 18 months.
He dislocated his left shoulder in the early stages of Super Rugby in 2016, missing the rest of the rugby season, before suffering hamstring and foot injuries throughout 2017.
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen confirmed the 26-year-old won't play again in 2017, and needs an operation.
"He's done one on the other side so he's well versed in what has to come and he knows he can get the recovery done, the rehab, and make it back. At least there's a positive for him, he knows he can do it," Hansen said.
"It's a good time of the year, I guess, in that it's over a few of those months where he's not meant to be playing.
"He hasn't had much luck, the poor bugger."
Hansen said Milner-Skudder would return to the field in April or May next year, meaning he'll also miss several Hurricanes games.
The Springboks match was his third test of 2017, having played in the reverse fixture in Albany and against Argentina in New Plymouth.
With Ben Smith on sabbatical and Israel Dagg sidelined, Waisake Naholo is the most likely right-wing replacement, while Julian Savea may earn a test recall.
The versatile David Havili is another option at Hansen's disposal.
Milner-Skudder posted to social media after the Cape Town match, praising his teammates for the win and staying optimistic.
He used the hashtags #KeepSmiling and #SpeedyRecovery.
Hansen has virtually admitted that sending five players straight to Cape Town could have cost the All Blacks a defeat.
The Springboks nearly completed a stunning reversal, coming agonisingly close to victory against the team which smashed them 57-0 at Albany.
Hansen said he had "rolled the dice a bit" in an effort to leave more petrol in the squad's tank for the end-of-season northern hemisphere tour.
It almost backfired though. The All Blacks were taken to the wire by the Springboks, with the young outside backs coming to the rescue after the forwards copped a battering.
Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Liam Squire, Ryan Crotty and Lima Sopoaga bypassed the test in Buenos Aires. Cane and Sopoaga were noticeably sluggish while Whitelock seemed to fade after a big start.
Hansen indicated some of them were off their game in Cape Town.
"Why we did that was not so much for here, but for the end of year [tour]," he said. "They hadn't played for three weeks, and were probably half a game short. We saw that in their performance - they were a split-second off where they are capable of being.
"They felt that themselves, talking to them afterwards. Hopefully we'll get the benefits of doing what we've done somewhere like Cardiff."
Beauden Barrett's immediate playing future seems unclear, after the All Blacks kept him on the sideline even though he passed a head injury assessment during the test.
"He just felt nauseous and made the comment he had stars," Hansen said. "If you've been concussed that's one of the symptoms. We felt it was not worth him going back there. He was pretty good today. We've got a couple of weeks and see how we go."