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Detached retina floors Smith

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Sportal.co.nz     26 Jul 2012     Getty Images

Smith underwent procedures to repair a detached retina on Friday and is unlikely to return to training until the end of August.

That means the Hurricanes captain will sit out the two Bledisloe Cup matches against Australia in August and possibly the first Test against Argentina in Wellington in early September.

"Conrad had two procedures on his left eye for a retinal detachment last week, with the second on Friday," said Hurricanes doctor Ian Murphy.

"They both went well and he is now recovering at home. At this stage he is expected to be out of training for six weeks."

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen names his 28-man Rugby Championship squad on August 5, with the World Cup winners playing the Wallabies in Sydney on August 18 before the return fixture the following week at Eden Park.

Smith's absence, Richard Kahui's ongoing shoulder problems and the departure of Sonny Bill Williams means opportunities have opened up in the All Blacks midfield.

Highlanders utility Tamati Ellison is recovering from a hamstring injury which leaves Crusaders Robbie Fruean and Ryan Crotty, Highlanders' Ben Smith and Hurricanes' Tim Bateman as possible contenders to join Ma'a Nonu, who was rested for the recent Irish series, in the midfield mix.

The All Blacks selectors are due to name a wider training group squad to attend a two-day camp in Wellington next week.