All Blacks and Crusaders captain Richie McCaw has refused to put a date on his return to Super Rugby but says he could still be out of action for another month.
McCaw is still recovering from the the foot injury which troubled him during the Rugby World Cup and has kept him out of the first eight rounds of Super Rugby.
Optimistic reports suggested McCaw might play his first match since last October's World Cup final when the Canterbury Crusaders meet the Stormers in a Super Rugby match on Saturday.
But McCaw said Thursday he may be as much a month away from returning, after his most recent surgery to have two small screws removed from a bone in his right foot.
His World Cup campaign last year was hampered by the injury which caused pain and severe swelling.
"The next couple of weeks I will build into full training and then, I guess, we will make a decision from there," he said.
"There's no pain. It's the lungs more than anything that are going to be the tricky one but that's what the next couple of weeks are about.
"Before I play, I need to make sure I can do the job fitness-wise."
The All Blacks hope McCaw will be able to return soon enough to have some game time under his belt before their June test series against Ireland.