Dan Carter will be out of rugby for two months.
Rugbyheaven NZ reports that the All Blacks flyhalf is to undergo ankle surgery ruling him out of rugby and it means he will be unavailable for the All Blacks’ final Tri-Nations match against Australia in Sydney on September 11.
All Blacks Doctor Deb Robinson said Carter had been troubled by niggling pain in his right ankle throughout the year but had still managed to play rugby to play for the Crusaders and All Blacks each week.
But Robinson said he injury had got too bad for him to continue as he is.
“It has reached the point now where it is restricting his ankle flexibility and, in turn, affecting his calf muscle strength, so now is the right time to have surgery,” Dr Robinson said.
Dr Robinson said the surgery, which will take place in Christchurch on Tuesday afternoon, would involve removing loose material from the joint at the back of his ankle. A bone spur would also be removed from the front of his ankle.
Carter has had his fair share of injuries over the years, but was positive about this latest setback.
“Given that movement in my foot is being affected, it’s obviously in my best interests to have the surgery now,” Carter said.
“I’ve been in this situation before and understand what is involved so will get through the surgery and rehab and then look forward to getting back into rugby,” he said.
Carter will initially be in a cast to allow the ankle joint to settle before he could resume rugby training, with a recovery period of up to eight weeks required.
All Blacks coach Graham Henry said it’s the right call for Carter to have the operation at this time.
“Dan is the ultimate rugby professional when it comes to injury rehabilitation and, with the help of the All Blacks medical staff, he will be getting the best treatment possible and we look forward to his return to rugby,” Henry said.
Henry said if the rehabilitation timeframe went to plan Carter would be available for selection for the All Blacks end of year tour to Hong Kong and the northern hemisphere.
“Looking ahead to the Sydney test, the selectors will look at a replacement player for Dan so we will be watching a bit of ITM Cup rugby over the next two weekends and confirm the player in due course,” Henry added.
It means Aaron Cruden is almost certain to start in Sydney with his back up possibly being Colin Slade or Stephen Brett.
Meanwhile, a number of the All Blacks squad have again been made available for ITM Cup games, if required by their provinces, over the next two weekends ahead of the All Blacks departure to Australia on Sunday 5 September.
The matches and players available for selection (in brackets) are as follows:
ITM Cup Week 5
Waikato (Liam Messam) v Counties Manukau, Hamilton, Sat 28 Aug. Wellington (Victor Vito) v Northland (Rene Ranger), Wellington, Sat 28 Aug. Canterbury v Auckland (John Afoa, Benson Stanley), Christchurch, Sat 28 Aug. Manawatu (Aaron Cruden) v Hawke’s Bay (Israel Dagg), Palmerston North, Sun 29 Aug. Bay of Plenty v North Harbour (Anthony Boric), Rotorua, Sun 29 Aug.
ITM Cup Week 6
Counties Manukau v Tasman (Ben Franks), Pukekohe, Thurs 2 Sept. Canterbury (Corey Flynn, Owen Franks, Sam Whitelock) v Bay of Plenty, Fri 3 Sept. Manawatu v Wellington (Victor Vito), Palmerston North, Sat 4 Sept. Northland (Rene Ranger) v Southland, Whangarei, Sat 4 Sept. North Harbour (Anthony Boric) v Waikato (Liam Messam), North Shore City, Sat 4 Sept.