An injured shoulder means All Blacks centre Richard Kahui will miss next month's Test series against France and his hopes of playing club rugby in Japan are in doubt, reports said Tuesday.
Kahui, who is due to take up a two-year contract with Japanese side Toshiba Brave Lupus in August, hurt his shoulder in training last week, the latest setback in a career plagued by injury.
Dave Rennie, the 27-year-old's coach at Super 15 club the Waikato Chiefs, told Fairfax Media that Kahui needed surgery on the shoulder and was facing four to six months on the sidelines.
That rules him out of the rest of the Super 15 season and the three-Test series against France beginning on June 8, with Rennie saying it could also end his Japanese plans.
"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," he said.
"The first thing is, he's just got to get it right."
Kahui has already undergone four shoulder operations and only returned to Super 15 rugby last month after 10 months out.
He appeared pessimistic about his chances of going to Japan when speaking to Maori Television last week, before it was confirmed he needed yet more surgery.
"I probably won't be going but I won't know anything until we get a bit closer to the time," he said. "Once August comes around, we'll make a few decisions from there."
Kahui was a key member of New Zealand's World Cup-winning team in 2011 but injuries have restricted him to just 17 Tests since his international debut in 2008.
Meanwhile, Wellington Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett said Conrad Smith was recovering well after being knocked out and suffering concussion during Saturday's 48-14 loss to the Northern Bulls in Pretoria.
Hammett said the All Blacks centre, who was stretchered from the field, would miss the Hurricanes' match against the Central Cheetahs on Friday and would be carefully monitored before he resumed playing,
"We've got the best people looking after that and Conrad's a very, very smart man as well, there's no way he'd put himself at undue risk," he said.