Wellington - All Blacks lock Jason Eaton will miss the remainder of the Hurricanes' Super 14 season after rupturing knee ligaments during Saturday's match against the Lions.
Eaton, who has played 15 Tests, ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and is likely to need surgery which will prevent him playing for six months. He suffered a similar injury to his left knee in 2007.
The Hurricanes were without All Blacks backs Conrad Smith and Tamati Ellison when they left for South Africa for matches against the Cheetahs, Stormers and Bulls.
Ellison has a bruised shoulder while Smith has a sprained ligament in his right thumb. Both are likely to be fit to rejoin the Hurricanes later in their three-match South African tour.
Wing Hosea Gear is already sidelined for at least a month after undergoing knee surgery.
The Hurricanes, along with the Bulls and Chiefs, are one of only three unbeaten teams in the Super 14 after three rounds.