Ma'a Nonu's shoulder injury is healing faster than the All Blacks medical staff expected, but the veteran midfielder's highly unlikely to be named on Thursday morning for the Rugby Championship decider.
The second five suffered a shoulder injury in the win over South Africa in Johannesburg last weekend and is widely tipped to sit out the Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia in Sydney on Saturday.
While assistant coach Ian Foster says Nonu is recovering well and trained on Wednesday in a non-contact role, that was more about not doing any further damage, though he's a chance for the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland on Saturday week.
"But he's feeling good, we'll look at him early next week and make that call, but it's not nearly as bad as what we thought, which is exciting for us," said Foster.
The All Blacks arrive in Sydney on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile it seems likely the uncapped outside back Nehe Milner-Skudder will be named on the right wing when head coach Steve Hansen names his team to play the Wallabies in the morning.