Dan Carter is unlikely to play against France in Saturday’s first Test of the three-Test series.
Carter has a cracked bone in his hand.
The world’s best flyhalf for the past decade has struggled with injury over the last few years and his pursuit of playing 100 Tests has stuttered in the 90s. He is currently on 94.
Carter missed the World Cup play-offs in 2011 because of a groin tear and has missed half the Super Rugby season because of injury and the birth of his first child.
Aaron Cruden, who started the World Cup final against France in 2011 when the teams last met, is expected to start in Carter’s absence.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said the injuries were part of rugby and would not disrupt preparations too much as they start the training component of preparations tomorrow.
He told the New Zealand media: ‘Tomorrow is all about clarity in our attack game. ‘We’ll take our time, and guys can lift, they don’t have to run. The injuries aren’t that bad we’re going to have wholesale changes in the front row. I’m picking most of them will be OK.’
Piri Weepu and Tony Woodcock are also in doubt and Sam Whitelock won’t play in the first Test.