All Blacks captain Kieran Read will miss the start of next year's Super Rugby season as he undergoes surgery to fix a back problem, the Canterbury Crusaders said Wednesday.
The reigning Super Rugby champions said Read would have an operation Saturday on a prolapsed disc, which normally requires four months' recovery.
The injury dogged Read during the All Blacks' recent Northern Hemisphere tour, forcing him to miss the season-ending Test against Wales.
"He has been reviewed by both the All Blacks and Crusaders medical teams, as well as a back specialist, who will continue to monitor his recovery," the Crusaders said in a statement.
If the Crusaders' four-month estimate is correct, Read will miss the Christchurch-based club's seven opening fixtures of the 2018 season.