New Zealand captain Kieran Read facing six weeks on sidelines
New Zealand captain Kieran Read could be sidelined for up to six weeks after having surgery on a fractured thumb.
The number eight sustained the injury in Canterbury Crusaders' 48-21 victory over South Africa's Cheetahs in Super Rugby on Saturday.
Read (31) was taken off late in the first half of the Crusaders' 48-21 victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein and now the All Blacks are nervous their captain may miss the tour altogether.
Crusaders assistant coach Jason Ryan said: "It is extremely disappointing for Kieran and the All Blacks.
"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.
"Obviously it's disappointing and will be concerning for the All Blacks." Read had only just returned from wrist surgery. The first Lions Test is on June 24.
Read also missed the first six rounds of the Super Rugby competition and only returned to action on April 14 following his wrist surgery.
Flanker Jerome Kaino, a two-time World Cup winner, is also expected to be out for four to six weeks after surgery on a meniscus tear, but is likely to be fit for the Lions series.
The Lions, who will be captained by Sam Warburton, start their tour against a New Zealand Barbarians side in Whangarei on June 3.