Flanker Sam Cane will miss the All Blacks tour of Japan and Europe after suffering a broken neck during their win over South Africa.
Cane was to undergo surgery on Sunday and remain in Pretoria for another week to recover after departing with a grimace midway through the 32-30 win at Loftus Versfeld.
All Blacks team doctor Tony Page said Cane was sporting a small fracture in a lower vertebrae but hadn’t suffered any potentially serious nerve damage.
The first-choice openside flanker will miss the five-Test season-ending tour which opens with the Bledisloe Cup dead rubber against Australia in Yokohama on October 27.
He is estimated to be out for three months, meaning he could be return with the Chiefs at the start of Super Rugby in February.
WATCH 🎥 #AllBlacks doctor Tony Page gives the latest update on Sam Cane after he suffered a neck fracture in the Test against South Africa.#RSAvNZL pic.twitter.com/z8utUroZjU
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 7, 2018
“We have every confidence he will do well with the operation and like any fracture it will probably take about three months for the bone to get strong and we’ll take it step by step,” Page told journalists.
“The operation is really just to keep everything in the right place so the bone can heal on its own accord. Many sportsmen have had this injury as have people in other walks of life and they usually make a good recovery.”
The likely starting No.7 on tour will be Ardie Savea, who replaced Cane in the 35th minute on Saturday and impressed, going on to score the match-winning try in the dying stages.