All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick will spend a few more weeks yet on the Super Rugby sidelines.
Retallick hasn't played since the Chiefs' win over the Blues on April 13, when he tore ligaments in his wrist.
On Tuesday, coach Colin Cooper confirmed there was no chance the 27-year-old would be back for the Chiefs trip to Dunedin this weekend nor the immediate weeks following.
"Brodie's probably another three weeks away, so we're looking at probably the Reds," Cooper said.
That would put Retallick in line to make his comeback against the Reds in Hamilton on May 24.
That very fixture has also been earmarked for fellow All Black forward Sam Cane's long-awaited return to rugby.
Cooper is hopeful Cane will make his first Super Rugby appearance of the season against the Queenslanders, after the horror neck injury suffered against the Springboks in October 2018.
The sight of Cane taking to the field would be welcome to All Blacks selectors, who already have an extensive list of injury concerns that includes Owen Franks, Liam Squire, and Damian McKenzie, who's been ruled out of the World Cup completely with torn knee ligaments.
Meanwhile, Cooper pointed to another bad start as a key factor in his side's heavy 47-19 loss to the Hurricanes on Saturday.
"We had a bad start [against] the Sunwolves and the Lions, so we're really trying to address why we're starting so poorly.
"The tries were soft tries - they were tackles that should have been made."
Much of that is down to the lack of consistency in selection, particularly in the backline.
"I thought we'd improved," said Cooper. "When you have disruptions late in the week and you're losing key players - communicators like Webby [halfback Brad Weber) and Sean Wainui's such a great communicator - it's hard to really replace those guys.
"Our back three had changed completely and they're the main three communicators in how we defend."
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