All Blacks skipper Kieran Read will undergo surgery on Saturday on a prolapsed lumbar disc.
Read has been reviewed by the All Blacks' and Crusaders' medical teams, as well as a back specialist, who will continue to monitor his recovery.
The expected recovery time for such injuries is about four months so Read is likely to miss a fair chunk of the Super Rugby season.
Read, 32, had an extremely heavy workload in the 2017 season for the Crusaders and All Blacks but didn't play in New Zealand's final northern hemisphere tour match last month against Wales because of his back injury.
He posted a picture of himself on social media on Wednesday, sitting on a couch at home watching cricket on TV.
"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 posted.
"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 start of the Super Rugby season. I'll get through it thanks to the ACC."