Crusaders will miss the services of hooker Andrew Makalio for the upcoming 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa season following a neck injury.
The 29-year-old sustained the blow while playing for Tasman towards the end of the 2020 Mitre 10 Cup and will now undergo a surgery that will keep him out of the 2021 season.
The news was confirmed by Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson in a statement released by the club.
"We really feel for Drewza, and we wish him all the best with surgery and his recovery," he said.
"While he won't take part in any games this season, Drew is a really important member of our squad and his contribution off the field will be significant.
"We look forward to connecting with him on his return to Christchurch following surgery."
Makalio joined Crusaders in 2017and has played 43 games for the club.
Bay of Plenty's Nathan Vella has been added to the squad as Makalio's replacement for the Super Rugby Aotearoa and the trans-Tasman competitions this year.