Kieran Read is expected to be sidelined for six weeks but should be fit for the tour
All Blacks captain Kieran Read could be out of action for up to six weeks, after undergoing surgery for a fractured thumb.
Read, who is expected to lead New Zealand for the Lions tour this summer, picked up the injury during the Crusaders' victory over the Cheetahs yesterday.
If the injury timeline runs to the full six weeks, Read will have just two weeks to spare before they face the Lions in their first test on June 24.
This is the second time this season that Read has recovered from a hand injury, having just made a return from wrist surgery in the middle of this month.
Crusaders assistant coach Jason Ryan said the timing of Read's injury is 'concerning' for the All Blacks.
Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, Ryan said:
"The guy has worked so hard off the field to get his hand right from the surgery he had during the off-season and has been world-class since returning to the field."
He added that Read will 'probably be determined (to play) once he's had his surgery.'
Meanwhile, fellow All Black Jerome Kaino, is considered to be a doubt for the opening Lions test, after suffering a knee injury.