Hurricanes full-back Jason Woodward's Super Rugby season is over due to a broken ankle sustained during a club rugby game in Wellington at the weekend.
Woodward, who has made three appearrances for the Hurricanes this season, suffered the injury when he was caught in the centre of a challenge by two defenders while playing at centre for his club Upper Hutt against Oriental Rongotai.
Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd said Woodward's injury was a big setback for a player who has made a significant contribution since he returned to the franchise after spending two seasons at the Melbourne Rebels.
Boyd said Woodward's injury would not dissuade him from sending players back to club rugby, however.
"As I said to Jason you can't wrap guys in cotton wool," he told Fairfax Media.
"It's a contact sport and injuries happen. I've seen the footage and it was nothing out of the ordinary.
"He just got caught, one guy over the top, one guy underneath. It was just bad luck."
Woodward will be replaced in the Hurricanes squad by 19-year-old full-back Sam McNicol, who represented the New Zealand Schools team two years ago.
McNicol recently returned to action after he underwent double hip surgery last year.
The Hurricanes are unlikely to use McNicol this season but Boyd is confident he could play at Super Rugby level if the situation arose.
"He's in a good space," added Boyd.
"He had a lot of time out of playing, but that allowed him to spend a lot of time on his training and he's physical enough now to be involved in Super Rugby."