All Black midfielder Richard Kahui's Super Rugby season with the Chiefs is over as he has been told he needs further surgery on his shoulder.
The blow means that Kahui could have already played his last game for the Chiefs as he is off to Japan after this season.
The centre will have another shoulder operation tomorrow will which definitely rule him out for the season.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said that Kahui is expected to be out of action for four or five months.
"He'd be no good for us this season," Rennie told Fairfax.
"Structurally it's actually okay. There's no ligament damage in there - it's more the muscle has come away and it has to be stitched back down so that takes a wee while to recover."
Rennie said that is fortunate that the to Kahui's shoulder is muscular as it keeps hopes alive that he can recover and play again.
Kahui is scheduled to play for Japanese club Toshiba after Super Rugby season on a two year deal and if all goes well he could complete the move but a longer than expected recovery could keep him from moving to Japan.
"He's still got a contract in Japan and hopefully if they're happy with the progress that still happens for him but I guess if that doesn't eventuate then he can look at options back here," Rennie said.
"The first thing is, he's just got to get it right."
Things could have been a lot worse for the 27-year-old had he damaged ligaments but Rennie told reporters he was confident if anyone could return from the setback, it was Kahui.
"I think some people would battle to come back, but he's one guy who has already come back from four operations," Rennie said.
"He's pretty determined and very professional, so I'm pretty confident he'll come back from it."
Kahui's injury means that there is added pressure on utility back Tim Nanai-Williams who has luckily been in form.
Rennie says that despite Nanai-Williams' size he brings something different and will continue to do so in the Kahui and Andrew Horrell who would have been a likely replacement if he had not suffered an ankle injury.
"We've used him (Nanai-Williams) a lot there, he's not a big guy but he's really powerful, he's very quick.
"He's scored a lot of tries and created a lot there, he certainly had a big game for us at the weekend. So centre is probably where we're going to use him for a while with the amount of injuries we've got in midfield."
Kahui has won 56 Super Rugby caps for the Chiefs but made his Super Rugby debut for the Highlanders in 2006.