Legendary All Black Brad Thorn's ageing body has broken down for a second time this season, a bicep injury ruling him out or the remainder of the Super Rugby competition.
It was revealed that the 39-year-old lock forward tore his bicep in the Highlanders' 27-20 win over the Bulls in Dunedin at the weekend.
Thorn will undergo surgery, with a Highlanders spokesperson saying it is "anticipated" he will miss the rest of the season.
It is the second time this season he suffered an injury setback that sidelined him for a lengthy period.
Thorn damaged his rib cartilage while tackling Blues lock Liaki Moli midway through the first half of the Highlanders' season-opening 29-21 win in Dunedin in February.
He only returned to action a couple of weeks back, but is now unlikely to feature further this year.
The oldest man to play Super Rugby, Thorn may not be lost to the Highlanders.
He recently said his goal is to keep playing at the top level after he turns 40 next February.
He said if he doesn't feel worn out later in the year, he will seek either one last campaign with the Highlanders in 2015 or play a season offshore, probably for a club in Europe.
Thorn played 200 games for the Brisbane Broncos in two stints in the NRL, along with representing Queensland and Australia in Rugby League.
His desire to play in his native New Zealand saw him forge a successful career with Canterbury and the Crusaders.
He played 59 Tests for the All Blacks, ending with the World Cup Final triumph in 2011, before club stints in Japan and Ireland.