The knee injury All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw suffered in the Crusaders loss to the Highlanders at the weekend will keep him out of the Super 14 for the next six weeks.
Coach Todd Blackadder says McCaw, who suffered ligament damage, is expected to be right for the side's trip to South Africa in the middle of next month.
The third straight loss for the defending champions has seen them slip to ninth on the competition ladder and the injury to McCaw couldn't have come at a worse time says Blackadder.
Blackadder says medical staff have told him McCaw won't require an operation and it's a case of rest and recuperation.
Also among the ever increasing Crusaders injury toll is centre Casey Laulala who will miss this weekend's match against the Western Force although fullback Leon McDonald is due back from a shoulder injury.