The Crusaders midfield back Ryan Crotty won't be available for the All Blacks' next match in the Rugby Championship against Argentina in La Plata.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named his 30-man squad for their last 2 Championship matches against Argentina and then South Africa in Johannesburg.
Crotty, who is recovering from a cheek fracture will return to rugby via Canterbury in the ITM Cup next week before joining the All Blacks in South Africa.
With Ma'a Nonu out with a broken arm, it means either Melakai Fekitoa, Ben Smith or Charles Piutau are the contenders to start at second five against Argentina.
Locks Dominic Bird and Patrick Tuipulotu, together with first five-eighth Daniel Carter, will also have a graduated return to rugby with their ITM Cup teams over the coming weeks.
Hooker Dane Coles will return to New Zealand after the Argentina Test for the pending birth of his first child.
The All Blacks leave for Argentina on Saturday afternoon.
All Blacks squad:
Hookers: Dane Coles, Nathan Harris and Keven Mealamu
Props: Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Owen Franks and Joe Moody
Locks: Brodie Retallick, Jeremy Thrush and Sam Whitelock
Loose forwards: Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Steven Luatua, Richie McCaw, Liam Messam and Kieran Read
Halfbacks: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara and Aaron Smith
First five-eighths: Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade
Midfielders: Ryan Crotty *, Conrad Smith and Malakai Fekitoa
Outside backs: Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea and Ben Smith