Kieran Read and Dane Coles are unlikely to feature for the All Blacks in their three-Test series against France in June.
Read underwent back surgery in December to free a trapped nerve, while Coles had corrective surgery following a ruptured knee ligament injury in November.
Both players were expected to return to Super Rugby at the end of April to get game time before the June Tests, but they have suffered setbacks in their recovery.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says they’ll take a cautious approach and will not rush the pair back to action.
‘I don’t think Kieran will be back until after the French series but that’s not a fait accompli at this point,’ Hansen told Radio Sport. ‘We can’t afford him to come back too early and damage it again and miss another six months and maybe even miss the World Cup. We’ll just take it one day at a time and one week at a time.
‘Dane is having a few problems with his knee too – he can’t seem to straighten it. He’s gone back to the surgeon, who has put him back in a brace at night to try to help him get full extension. Once that happens he’ll make progress pretty quickly. He is unlikely to be available for June.’