Ben Smith's Super Rugby campaign could be over, with the Highlanders fullback set for a two-month layoff.
The 32-year-old sent All Blacks fans and selectors into a frenzy on Saturday night, after suffering a concussion and hamstring strain in a collision with Chiefs flanker Luke Jacobson.
Smith was cleared of a serious injury on Monday, but Highlanders management has confirmed his regular season is all-but over.
The best prognosis for Smith's return would be the final-round clash against the Waratahs in Dunedin, but it's more likely the two-time World Cup winner will sit until the knockout phase, should the Highlanders make it that far.
With Smith heading to Pau in France at the end of the year, Highlanders fans may have seen the last of him in the blue and gold.
In more promising news for the southern men, All Black flanker Liam Squire is close to returning from a knee injury that has kept him on the shelf the entire season.
The Highlanders expect the 28-year-old to be available for next week's trip to South Africa to take on the Lions.
Join us for live updates of the Highlanders v Jaguares from 5:15pm Saturday.