It was the worst timing possible
Flyhalf Quade Cooper may be forced to miss Australia's end-of-year tour of Europe after scheduled surgery to repair a knee injury was delayed for at least a week.
Cooper was due to undergo arthroscopic surgery Friday, to remove a small chip of cartilage from the knee he injured during last year's World Cup.
The surgery was delayed because of a cut Cooper suffered, probably from a sprig, during Australia's Rugby Championship Test against Argentina last weekend.
Cooper said the operation will now take place in a week to 10 days.
Cooper's recovery from the surgery is expected to take four to six weeks and the delay threatens his availability for the Australian tour - starting on November 10 against France.
Even with a four-week recovery, he would be racing time to be fit for the start of the tour.
"It's all pretty tight now, but you never know," Cooper told AAP.
In keeping with his cautious approach to his return from the reconstruction, the 38-Test flyhalf said he would not take any risks in rushing back into action.
"I want to make sure I can come back at full strength," he said.
The likely loss of Cooper should be softened by the long-awaited return of fellow playmaker James O'Connor (hamstring), who is due to be fit for the October 20 clash with New Zealand in Brisbane.
His latest injury setback continues a frustrating 2012 for Cooper who missed the June internationals to safeguard his reconstructed knee and was then controversially suspended for Queensland's play-off loss to the Sharks.
He started at No.10 in the Wallabies past three Tests, but was under pressure to keep his spot following the comeback win over the Pumas after coach Robbie Deans considered dragging him for a string of errors.
Ironically, his biggest mistake - conceding a second-half chargedown try to Pumas flank Tomas Leonardi - came just two minutes after he copped the knock to his knee.
Cooper said he struggled to run properly for five to 10 minutes and the injury contributed to the chargedown.
"I didn't want to kick it, physically didn't feel I could kick the ball, and I was calling for it to be kicked from scrumhalf," he said.
"It was the worst timing possible."
Cooper joins Wallabies leaders James Horwill, David Pocock and Will Genia on the sidelines.
There is some hope both Horwill and Pocock will return for the November tour while powerful forwards Wycliff Palu and Sekope Kepu may return with O'Connor against the All Blacks.
Sources: SAPA-AP & AAP