Swelling in Cory Jane's knee means the Hurricanes wing's playing future will remain up in the air for another week.
Jane met with his surgeon on Thursday hoping to get an accurate gauge of how long his ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) would keep him out of action.
Instead he was told to come back in a week's time when the swelling has gone down.
Only then will Jane get a firm date for surgery and a clearer idea of how long his rehabilitation might take.
The Hurricanes are reluctant to discuss such details till the orthopaedic surgeon has given his full prognosis.
And Jane, who celebrated his 30th birthday yesterday, has yet to talk publicly about the moment his right knee blew out during an open training session in Paraparaumu on January 31.
Just how long the popular outside back will be out of rugby will depend on numerous factors, but it is difficult to see him featuring in the Hurricanes' 2013 campaign.
The generally accepted benchmark for a return to sport after a ruptured ACL is six to nine months depending on the individual.
However, it is no longer a rarity for modern day athletes to return strongly from what was once seen as a potentially career-ending injury.
The 41-test All Black's Twitter feed suggests he's coping well enough with his predicament. He tweeted on Thursday: "It's been one week today since I took my sabbatical."
In a more serious moment, Jane may find comfort in researching other top athletes to have suffered torn ACL's in recent times.
The highest profile example is that of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
Peterson, 27, returned to the NFL eight months after his injury and went on to win the NFL's Most Valuable Player award for 2012.
In rugby terms Australian first five-eighth Quade Cooper has bounced back after tearing his ACL during the third and fourth play-off during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Cooper was back on the field seven months after his injury, completing the 2013 Super Rugby season with the Reds without any obvious ill effects.
On that evidence, Jane's most realistic chance of returning this year could be the back end of the NPC in late October.
Whatever the case, his Hurricanes teammates left for Melbourne yesterday without him for their second Super Rugby preseason match.
Kurtley Beale will line up at first five-eighth in his second year with the Rebels, with James O'Connor at fullback.
Former Wellington and Highlanders loose forward Scott Fuglistaller starts at openside, though his 2012 Lions teammate and fullback Jason Woodward will miss the match due to injury.
All Blacks Beauden Barrett and Julian Savea will return via the bench.
Hurricanes: Andre Taylor, Richard Buckman, Reynold Lee-Lo, Tim Bateman, Matt Proctor, James Marshall, Chris Smylie, Victor Vito, Ardie Savea, Faifili Levave, James Broadhurst, Jeremy Thrush, Eric Sione, Dane Coles, Ben Franks. Reserves: Ash Dixon, Ben May, Reggie Goodes, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Blade Thomson, Jason Eaton, Mark Reddish, Karl Lowe, TJ Perenara, Julian Savea, Ope Peleseuma, Beauden Barrett.
Melbourne Rebels: James O'Connor, Alex Rokobaro, Mitch Inman, Rory Sidey, Lachlan Mitchell, Kurtley Beale, Nick Phipps, Gareth Delve, Scott Fuglistaller, Luke Jones, Cadeyrn Neville, Hugh Pyle, Laurie Weeks, Ged Robinson, Nic Henderson. Reserves: Shota Horie/Pat Leafa, Eddie Aholelei/Paul Alo-Emile, James King/Chris Thomson, Tim Davidson/Trent Dyer/Jordy Reid/Jarrod Saffy, Richard Kingi/Nic Stirzaker, Angus Roberts/Tom English, Kemu Valetini. Kick off: 3.30pm, today.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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