All Blacks captain Richie McCaw will undergo surgery to have a screw inserted into his broken thumb on Thursday.
McCaw has seen a specialist and images have been taken of the injury sustained in the first half of the Crusaders' Super Rugby defeat against the Blues at Eden Park last Friday.
Initial estimates are that the 33-year-old will need two months to recover from the operation on his left thumb.
There was doubt over when McCaw would go under the knife as it was difficult to find an available specialist in Christchurch.
"Oh, it's only Richie McCaw," Crusaders assistant coach Dave Hewett told ONE Sport on Monday.
"He will be fitted in. They've got time schedules they have to work to as well."
Last year McCaw played just 28 minutes of the Crusaders' season and his absence comes as a major blow as they sit on the bottom of the Super Rugby standings after two defeats in the opening two rounds.
"It's a massive loss for us," assistant coach Tabai Matson told Fairfax NZ News
"Obviously, to know you aren't going to have the experience of a guy like Richie out there on the paddock is concerning, but we are still very lucky in the fact he will be a part of the environment and be on hand to help out and give his thoughts when they are needed.
"But it's a great chance for Matt Todd to step up.
"I don't think we need to push the panic button just yet, I'm sure if we keep trusting in our processes then things will come right."
The Crusaders host the Stormers in Christchurch on Saturday.