All Black and Highlanders midfielder Tamati Ellison will miss most of the 2013 Super Rugby season as he is still recovering from shoulder surgery in the off-season.
Twenty-nine-year-old Ellison injured his shoulder playing for Otago in the NPC last year but still went on the All Blacks end of year tour.
After returning from the All Blacks tour he had a scan on the shoulder which revealed a dislocation and a break at the top of the shoulder bone so he had surgery.
The loss of Ellison will be a major blow for the Highlanders but if they make the play-offs he could come in for consideration.
The Highlanders are one of the early favourites for the 2013 Super Rugby title as they have made a number of new key signings.
The Highlanders have a number of options in the midfield including All Black midfielder Ma'a Nonu as well as Shaun Treeby, Phil Burleigh and Jason Emery in the squad.
Meanwhile Fairfax have reported that Rookie winger Declan O'Donnell will also miss most of the season with a shoulder injury and the Highlanders are likely to look for a replacement.