Dan Carter needs an operation but not to repair the Achilles tendon that ruined his 100th test appearance against England.
The All Blacks first five-eighth, who last week returned to New Zealand following sponsorship duties in the United States, limped out of the Twickenham test on November 18 and was scratched from the final tour match against Ireland, in Dublin, a week later.
Last night All Blacks doctor Tony Page confirmed the 31-year-old is destined to spend part of his holiday recovering from an operation but there was no chance of the surgeon taking a blade to his Achilles.
"Dan's Achilles tendon has developed some wear and tear but it won't require surgery which is good news," Page said.
"However, separately from that, Dan has some bone spurs in the same ankle which need to be removed so he will have an operation for that. This is similar to what he had done a few years ago."
Carter, who required surgery on his left leg when he partially ruptured his left Achilles - not the one that is now troubling him - when playing for French club Perpignan in 2009, has plenty of time to recover.
He is not required to return to the Crusaders until early July because he has been granted a six-month sabbatical by the New Zealand Rugby Union.
Unlike the saga surrounding Richie McCaw - when the Crusaders were uncertain when or if he would return at all for their campaign - Carter is guaranteed to be available after the All Blacks have completed their domestic test series against England.
The Crusaders already have three playmakers in their squad in Tom Taylor, Colin Slade and Tyler Bleyendaal. Taylor is also an option to start at second-five to allow Ryan Crotty or Reynold Lee-Lo to play at centre
Carter's decision not to play offshore during his break also means he isn't under any pressure to delay the surgery.
"Once he has recovered from the bone spur operation, he will have a period of rest followed by gradual loading of the Achilles and calf to allow it to recover and repair ahead of his return to rugby," Page said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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