Kane Hames looks to be out for the rest of the year after All Blacks coach Steve Hansen poured cold water on a potential return for the injured prop.
Hames has been struggling with what is thought to be concussion issues throughout the year - an injury shrouded in mystery.
The Chiefs loosehead prop had a strong 2017 - finishing the year with seven straight starts for the All Blacks - but has been forced to the sidelines for the season to date.
Hansen wasn't able to provide any more detail on the injury and seemed confused himself with Hames' situation.
"Hames is Hames, he likes to do things his way," said Hansen.
"I don't know that he helps his progress by wanting to do it the way he wants to do it."
Hansen effectively ruled out a return for Hames this season, for the All Blacks at least, but was happy with the progress made by the injured prop.
"We're in contact with him and he's making progress in the right direction. And obviously been out of rugby and training for a long time now.
"I don't think we'll see him back this season but pretty confident we'll see him back next year."
Both the All Blacks and the Chiefs have been vague about the nature of Hames' injury thus far, but the consistent message has been that he was making progress.
"[Hames] is seeing specialists at the moment. To give him the privacy, it's not appropriate for me to comment on what that's about but he's making good progress and is seeing specialists," Chiefs coach Colin Cooper said last month.
"At the moment, I've just got to give him the privacy to get through that. He's seeing specialists about his issue and we have to sit back and wait and see how it goes."
Earlier in the week, All Blacks Ben Smith and Ryan Crotty opened up about their own personal struggles with concussions.
Both expressed the importance of taking the appropriate amount of time in coming back from head injuries, with Crotty even suggesting that he may have to give up rugby if the effects of concussions started to worsen.
"If I wasn't to bounce back from one [concussion] as quickly as I tend to, then maybe you would think [about giving up rugby]," said Crotty who has suffered four concussions over the last two years.