The Highlanders suffered a blow when it was confirmed that All Black back-row Liam Squire has suffered a serious knee injury.
Squire had been back in full training with the New Zealand franchise last week after recovering from a hip injury that had kept him out of all rugby this year but tore a medial ligament and would be out of consideration for eight to 10 weeks.
Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger said: "He would have been available for this week's game (against the Blues in Auckland). It's a terrible blow for him.
"The guy has worked so hard to get to where he is but these things happen and unfortunately it has happened to a guy who has already had a bit of adversity this year."
The Highlanders had their game against the Crusaders postponed last week due to the terror attacks in Christchurch.
They are now preparing for another New Zealand derby when they travel to play the Blues on Friday.