An injury to All Blacks captain Kieran Read has soured the Crusaders' comfortable 32-8 Super Rugby victory over the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday.
Read was making his first appearance this year, after an extended off-season, but went down for a lengthy spell of treatment on his right leg midway through the first half.
He limped to the next play - a lineout downfield, where captain Sam Whitelock called him as the target - and saw out the rest of the first half, but was replaced by coach Scott Robertson at halftime.
"Technically, he has got a double haematoma," Robertson told reporters. "He got two knocks in the same place and he seized up at halftime, so we took him off."
Robertson did not give a time frame on Read's recovery, but quipped it would probably take "twice as long", as it was a double haematoma.
That answer would do little to ease All Blacks coach Steve Hansen's concerns for the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year, with first-choice loose forwards Sam Cane (neck) and Liam Squire (knee) also out with long-term injuries.
Robertson said there should be little to worry about, given Read's ability to get back up to speed.
"He went all right when he was on, he went a full 100 [percent]," Robertson said.
"I thought he was going to ease himself back into the game, but in that first five minutes, the amount of touches and tackles he made, it was pretty impressive."
In their next match, the Crusaders host the Brumbies - their first fixture in Christchurch since the terror attacks earlier this month.
Join us at 7:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Blues vs Stormers Super Rugby clash.