The All Blacks and Chiefs first-five Aaron Cruden says he's not completely given up hope of making the Rugby World Cup, though he concedes his chances are slim.
Cruden ruptured ligaments in his left knee in the Chiefs recent win over the Crusaders and has an appointment with a surgeon tomorrow to schedule a knee reconstruction.
That will keep him out of rugby for six months meaning he's set to miss September's world cup in Britain.
"You look at the last world cup and there were a few injuries and guys getting called in late so I guess all going well with my rehab and recovery ticks along nicely then who knows what can happen," Cruden said.
"But yeah at this stage I guess I can't put all my energy into that I just have to make sure that I go up to Auckland on Wednesday and see the surgeon and make sure I make a plan from there and rip into rehab and recovery as quickly as possible."
Cruden seems certain to miss this year's World Cup after a scan confirmed he suffered a serious knee injury.
The Chiefs say traditional reconstruction surgery has been deemed to be the most appropriate given Cruden's age and long-term career prospects.
The expected return to play time for this sort of surgery is six months.
Cruden started eight tests last year and All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will not have forgotten that the All Blacks finished the 2011 campaign with fourth choice Stephen Donald in the first five role.
Cruden was initially left out of the 2011 squad for New Zealand's triumphant World Cup campaign but drafted in after Carter suffered a groin injury.
A subsequent injury to Colin Slade saw him claim the number 10 jersey for the semi-final and final and he played the first half an hour of the title decider against France before suffering another knee injury.
Carter and Slade remain options at flyhalf for New Zealand, as does in-form Hurricanes playmaker Beauden Barrett, but the loss of Cruden is a big blow to coach Steve Hansen.
"He's developed into a very good Test All Black and is a key member of our team, (but)..there are always going to be injuries and as selectors we plan for these unfortunate events and are constantly looking to build depth in all positions across the team," Hansen said.