All Whites and Wellington Phoenix midfielder Clayton Lewis will be sidelined for at least eight weeks after breaking a knee cap.
The injury happened during the Phoenix win against Central Coast Mariners last weekend.
Scans have since confirmed the nature of the injury.
The injury puts the rest of Lewis’ A-League season at risk, as well as his inclusion in the All Whites if their fixtures for the March international window are confirmed.
Wellington Phoenix men’s coach Ufuk Talay will be forced to make a change to his starting XI for Saturday afternoon’s Isuzu UTE A-League match against the Perth Glory in Palmerston North.
Lewis has featured in all 13 of the men’s matches so far this season, starting the past 12 after coming off the bench in the season-opener against Adelaide United.
He joins centre back Scott Wootton (calf) on the sidelines.
Wellington Phoenix men’s squad: 3. Finn SURMAN, 5. Steven UGARKOVIC, 6. Tim PAYNE, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Ben OLD, 9. Oskar ZAWADA, 10. David BALL, 11. Bozhidar KRAEV, 12. Lucas MAURAGIS, 13. Nicholas PENNINGTON, 14. Alex RUFER, 17. Callan ELLIOT, 19. Sam SUTTON, 20. Oli SAIL (gk), 21. Joshua LAWS, 24. Oskar VAN HATTUM, 31. Yan SASSE, 35. Noah KARUNARATNE, 40. Alex PAULSEN (gk).
IN: 35. Noah KARUNARATNE (promoted).
OUT: 23. Clayton LEWIS (injured).
Unavailable: 4. Scott WOOTTON (injured), 23. Clayton LEWIS (injured).