The Crusaders are seeking further scans on injuries suffered by All Blacks stars Joe Moody and Jack Goodhue during Super Rugby Aotearoa over the weekend.
On Sunday, the pair were forced from the field during the golden-point win over the Hurricanes - Goodhue nursing a knee injury and Moody with a foot issue that required a moonboot.
Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson quickly assessed both injuries as "serious", but how much rugby they'll miss is still unclear, with the franchise awaiting the results of further scans later this week, before setting a recovery timeframe.
The Crusaders are scheduled to play the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday, but neither Moody nor Goodhue is likely to feature.
Judging by the information both players have received from medical staff to date, Crusaders captain Scott Barrett is bracing for the worst.
"Joe [Moody] and Jack [Goodhue] are two big losses for us," says Barrett. "Two leaders in our group with a vast amount of experience.
"Not exactly sure on the timeframe but I think both of them are pretty serious."
Forwards coach Jason Ryan is confident his squad has enough depth to cover both players, pointing to George Bower, Isi Tu'ungafasi, and rookie Tamaiti Williams as the most likely replacements for Moody at loosehead prop.
Mako dynamo Leicester Fainga'anuku looms as the immediate substitute for Goodhue, while All Black Braydon Ennor - who has returned to training - inches closer to match fitness, after rupturing his ACL in September.
"We're having a bit of a run at the moment," says Ryan. "We've always said we'll trust everyone .
"In Super Rugby Aotearoa, it does get harder to give guys an opportunity. It's test match intensity, and it's getting harder and harder. Everyone has seen a shift in intensity
"We're comfortable. We always plan for it. If we lose a certain player, we always trust the next man in."
The defending champions are already without the services of flanker Tom Christie (shoulder) and Andrew Makalio (neck) and All Blacks midfielder Braydon Ennor (knee), who have all been ruled out for the season.
"It's never going to be all smooth," said Robertson on Monday. "There is going to be a bit of chaos in there.
"You're going to have a few injuries, you're going to be down, you're going to get some calls from the refs and you're not. That's just part of it."
All Blacks selectors will also be eagerly anticipating an update on the status of Moody and Goodhue, as well as star Hurricanes loose forward Ardie Savea, who also limped from the field on Sunday.
With NZ captain Sam Cane already ruled out of rugby for the rest of the year with a torn pectoral (chest/shoulder), Savea looms as a possible replacement skipper.
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