AFP - All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter was on Sunday ruled out for the rest of the French season because of an Achilles tendon injury, having played just five matches for Perpignan.
"It is a partial tear of the Achilles tendon which means he will be unavailable for around six months," said spokesman Benoit Brazes.
The 26-year-old Carter, who was signed by the Catalan club on a lucrative six-month deal worth a reported 35,000 euros (45,000 US dollars) a match was hurt in Saturday's 13-13 draw with Stade Francais.
His brief stay with the French side, which began in December, was plagued by injury and his time on the pitch amounted to just 361 playing minutes.
"It's a huge disappointment especially for him, for the club," added Brazes.
"Now we are going to do our best possible to get him healthy again. Our doctor will be in contact with the medical staff of the All Blacks to decide whether or not he will undergo surgery in France.
"At the monent he is in plaster and is at home. He underwent an examination on Sunday morning (in Paris) and returned with us by plane."
Carter now faces a major battle to be fit for the Tri-Nations which gets underway on July 18 when the All Blacks face Australia in Auckland.
The New Zealand star admitted on Saturday before the game in Paris that fear of injury was always a concern, especially as he went on to club duty virtually straight from the All Blacks European Test commitments.
"It's the first time for me. Usually, there is an off-season in December and January. There's been talk of the possibility of injury but my body feels fine," Carter told L'Equipe sports daily.
"After the last Tri-Nations, when I injured my ankle, I spent six weeks recovering.
"It's normal that opponents here are up for the challenge. That's part of the game. But rugby is first and foremost a team game and it isn't just one individual who can change things."
On Saturday, Carter, who hit two penalties and converted Maxime Mermoz's try in front of 80,000 people at the Stade de France, was making his return to the Perpignan side after a three-week absence because of an earlier Achilles tendon injury.
Coach Jacques Brunel paid tribute to Carter's performance. "He was lively, challenging and worked well with the centres and set up the try with a well-judged kick. He is having more and more influence on the game and feels better and better in the team," said Brunel.
Meanwhile Jean-Claude Peyrin, the president of the French national rugby league's medical commission, said that Carter could have benefited from more rest.
"It's certain, in my opinion, that this player has not benefited from sufficient rest although it's impossible to say if this lack of recovery brought about the injury," he said.
Meanwhile Carter's fellow All Black Byron Kelleher was on Sunday ruled out for six weeks after suffering a knee injury playing for Toulouse in the French club's 17-13 defeat at Biarritz.
The 32-year-old scrum-half, capped 57 times by the All Blacks, came off the pitch in the 68th minute after his left leg buckled under a heavy tackle.