Ryan Nelsen has been ruled out of the All Whites World Cup qualifiers in the Solomon Islands with an ankle injury.
Nelsen had already withdrawn from friendlies against Honduras and El Salvador in the USA next week.
Medical staff at Nelsen's English Premier League club Tottenham confirmed an ankle injury picked up towards the end of the season will see the All Whites skipper out for four weeks.
"The injury he's has been carrying needs rest and we've not going to do the player or our team any favours by throwing him into the demanding schedule we've got coming up and risking greater long-term damage," All Whites coach Ricki Herbert said.
"If he gets the rest and treatment he needs now then we increase our chances of having him for the next stage of qualifying and the Olympic Games."
In his place Herbert has added Auckland City duo Ian Hogg and Adam McGeorge to the squad.
McGeorge, who captained the New Zealand U-23 team to Olympic qualification in March, and Hogg, who is on course to appear in a second straight Olympic games, bring New Zealand's OFC Nations Cup squad to a full quota of 23.
"Two more promising players now have an opportunity to push their case and both Adam and Ian have got a great chance to help New Zealand take the next step towards Brazil and put themselves in our long-term plans."
Due to club commitments, Dan Keat (LA Galaxy), Chris Killen (Chongqing) and Winston Reid (West Ham) have not been released for the Honduras and El Salvador games, which fall outside of the FIFA international window, with Reid involved in Sunday morning's promotion playoff with West Ham and Keat and Killen both involved in league action.
Tony Lochhead (honeymoon) and Rory Fallon (pursuing coaching badges) have been excused for the USA leg while US-based goalkeeper Jake Gleeson is on standby for the Nations Cup but joins the team in the USA.
The team play El Salvador on May 24 (NZT) and Honduras on May 27 (NZT), before travelling on to Honiara via Brisbane for the OFC Nations Cup.
There they face Fiji (June 2), Papua New Guinea (June 4) and Solomon Islands (June 6) in Group B with the top two teams from each of the two pools qualifying for the next stage of World Cup qualifying in September, October and March.
The winner of June's OFC Nations Cup also qualifies for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.
- Fairfax Media