The All Blacks first five-eighth Daniel Carter will miss at least the first two matches of the Rugby Championship after fracturing his leg in the Super Rugby final on Saturday.
Scans revealed a small crack in Carter's fibula and while it will not require surgery, recovery is expected to take four weeks.
That means he'll miss the Bledisloe Cup opener against Australia in Sydney next Saturday and the return fixture in Auckland a week later.
The earliest he could return would be for the match against South Africa in Wellington on September 13.
Carter sat out the June series win over England on a sabbatical and was restricted by injury last year, only playing six times for the All Blacks.
Meanwhile the All Blacks have more injury concerns at loosehead prop following the Crusaders' loss to the Waratahs.
With Tony Woodcock already ruled out for the season, Joe Moody is under an injury cloud after suffering a concussion, while Wyatt Crockett has a knee issue, although he is expected to be able to train next week.
The lock Dominic Bird is awaiting further information about the extent of a toe injury.