New Zealand's most prolific loose forward, All Black and Blues star Jerome Kaino, will take no further part in the Super Rugby season after he was ordered to undergo surgery on his injured shoulder.
The flank, New Zealand's 2011 Player of the Year, said he was devastated to learn he would be sidelined for six months - after examinations showed a piece of bone had been dislodged from his left shoulder in the Blues' Round Two loss to the Chiefs on March 2.
"I'm gutted, I really didn't think this was going to take me out of the whole Blues season," he told a media conference in Auckland.
Kaino said he accepts this year could be a write-off.
"With a lot of guys hitting form during the Super Rugby [season] I think I'd struggle to slot straight into any top level rugby so I'd fit in wherever I can, hopefully get some NPC [game time] somewhere in there to try and find my feet."
Blues coach Pat Lam said from Cape Town - where his team is based ahead of their Round Four encounter with the Stormers on Friday - he was shocked to lose the 28-year-old.
Kaino played a major part in the All Blacks' World Cup success last year and was among the nominees for IRB Player of the Year.
"This is a real blow for him and I know, like us, he is really disappointed that he won't be playing this season with the team," Lam said.
Kaino, who continued to play through the pain barrier, thinking it was related to a recurring shoulder issue which he has so far managed successfully, realised the injury did was not improving.
"I really didn't think this was going to take me out of the whole Blues season," Kaino added.
"It certainly helped seeing the guys have a good win at Loftus in the weekend."
The Blues are 11th on the Super Rugby ladder after two losses and one win in the opening three rounds.
Kaino will stay in the Blues camp as part of the leadership group and offer advice where he can.
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