Dane Coles' intended return to the rugby field will have to wait a little longer.
When Coles was confirmed in the All Blacks wider training group for the Rugby Championship, head coach Steve Hansen said the star hooker was expected to be on the paddock towards "late September or early October."
Despite then giving a rough timeline of when he expected Coles to return, Hansen today doubled back on his previous remarks.
"We've never put a timeline on it because we don't want to," Hansen said. "We just want to put him back out on the park when he's ready and every day we're getting closer to that."
Yet to front at the Mitre 10 Cup level for Wellington this season and left out of the All Blacks squad to travel to Argentina and South Africa in the coming weeks, Coles continues to fight his way back from injury.
Coles last took to the field early in November of last year and has been working through knee and calf injuries throughout 2018.
"His knee has been the major problem, but he had a calf strain there a while back so we've just got to make sure we get the running into that so it doesn't go again," Hansen said.
Coles missed the entirety of the Hurricanes Super Rugby season due to the injuries, and speaking to the Herald in May, the 31-year-old was hopeful to return during the Mitre 10 Cup season for Wellington.
Coles was one of a handful of All Blacks who will remain in New Zealand when the side travel to Argentina tonight, alongside fellow injured trio Brodie Retallick, Liam Squire and Joe Moody, while Kieran Read was left behind for rest purposes.
Wellington loose forward Vaea Fifita was called into the squad to replace Read on the back of some dynamic appearances at the provincial level.
All Blacks travelling squad
Liam Coltman, Nathan Harris, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Tim Perry, Angus Ta'avao, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Ofa Tuungafasi, Scott Barrett, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Vaea Fifita (Argentina test), Shannon Frizell, Jackson Hemopo, Kieran Read (South Africa test), Ardie Savea, Luke Whitelock.
TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Beauden Barrett, Damian McKenzie, Richie Mo'unga, Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams, Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Waisake Naholo, Ben Smith.