All Blacks captain Kieran Read will miss around half of the Super Rugby season as he will have surgery on his back.
Read will undergo undergo surgery on a prolapsed lumbar disc in his back which will rule him out of action for around four months.
The All Black skipper suffered the injury in the second half of last season and will now miss the first seven matches of the Super Rugby season.
The Crusaders expect to have Read back sometime around the middle of April.
“He has been reviewed by both the All Blacks and Crusaders medical teams, as well as a back specialist, who will continue to monitor his recovery. Expected recovery time for such injuries is approximately four months,” the Crusaders said in a statement.
Read is being positive about the injury even though he will be missing for much of the season.
“So lucky there’s a big summer of cricket coming up as I will be spending plenty of time here over the next few weeks,” Read said on social media.
“Head in for surgery on a disc in my back on Saturday, which I injured at the end of the season. Hopefully I don’t miss too much of the season. I’ll get through it thanks to ACC.”
The injury ruled Read out of the All Blacks final match of 2017 when the New Zealand side beat Wales 18-33 in Cardiff.
The Crusaders begin the defence of their Super Rugby title against the Chiefs on February 24.