Hurricanes and All Blacks hooker Asafo Aumua will miss the rest of the Super Rugby season with a wrist injury.
The rising 20-year-old has undergone surgery on a fracture which had forced him to miss the last-start win over the Chiefs.
Aumua is forecast to spend six weeks in a cast and the same period of time for full rehabilitation, meaning a late August return to rugby.
It is a setback for one of New Zealand's most promising players.
An age group standout, he stood out with his dynamic running in a debut NPC campaign with Wellington which booked him a seat on the All Blacks' November tour. He made two appearances off the bench in midweek matches.
Questions of his fitness levels delayed his Super Rugby debut before he made four bench appearances behind Ricky Riccitelli.
It leaves the Hurricanes short of hookers, with captain and All Blacks first- choice Test option Dane Coles still recovering from knee surgery.
Coles' return is expected in July, potentially in time for a tilt at the playoffs.
Canterbury hooker Nathan Vella has been added to the Hurricanes squad and will back up Riccitelli and James O'Reilly.
Meanwhile, All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara has also had his return date pushed back as he recovers from a knee ligament injury.
The delay places a cloud over Perenara's availability for the three-test series against France in June, however All Blacks coach Steve Hansen believed the halfback would be available for selection in May.