Ireland hooker Rory Best broke his arm in the narrow defeat to the All Blacks on Sunday and is in doubt for the start of the Six Nations next year.
After having scored his team's second try against the world champions in Dublin Best left the field holding his right arm, which has since been confirmed by his club Ulster as a broken forearm.
He was due to see a specialist in Belfast on Monday, but his chances of being fit for Ireland's Six Nations opener against Wales at the start of February appear slim.
With Leinster hooker Richardt Strauss also ruled out due to a heart condition, coach Joe Schmidt's side appear short on options in the middle of the front row when the European competition gets underway.
The injury also means that Best will be out of action for Ulster, including the European Cup double-header against Italian side Treviso next month.