The Highlanders look likely to lose veteran lock Brad Thorn for the rest of the Super Rugby season after he suffered a torn bicep playing against the Bulls in Dunedin on Friday.
Thirty-nine-year-old Thorn was to have surgery on the injury on Sunday which forced him to retire early in the second half of the Highlanders 27-20 victory over the Bulls
A spokesperson for the Highlanders told AAP that it was "anticipated" that the Rugby World Cup winner will miss the rest of the season.
While Thorn's season may be over this year he could return for the Highlanders next year.
Thorn is the oldest Super Rugby player and he recently said that his goal was to keep playing top level rugby next year after his 40th birthday which is in February.
The former All Black said that if he does not feel like he is "worn out" later this year he would look to sign a new one year deal with the Highlanders for 2015.
If Thorn's Super Rugby season has come to an end it is unlikely that he will feel "worn out" by the end of the year.
If the Highlanders don't want to sign Thorn for the 2015 Super Rugby season he could play overseas - possibly in Europe.
Thorn played 200 NRL games for the Brisbane Broncos, has represented Queensland and Australia in rugby league.
He has also played 59 Tests for the All Blacks and had a career with Canterbury and the Crusaders. He has also played in Ireland and Japan.