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Calf injury sets back Dan Carter's return to Super Rugby

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Dan Carter's return to top-flight rugby in New Zealand has been delayed after he strained a calf muscle in practice.

The 38-year-old ex-All Blacks flyhalf was due to be included on the reserves bench by the Auckland-based Blues for their Super Rugby Aotearoa match against the Wellington-based Hurricanes on Saturday.

But Carter felt tightness in his lower leg shortly before the end of the Blues’ training run on Thursday and has been held out of the

match 23 at least for another week.

“He’s pulled up a bit tight. It’s nothing too major but we want to make sure we don’t risk anything with Dan,” Blues coach Leon MacDonald said. “Obviously he’s working his way back with his conditioning."

MacDonald said if the calf muscle injury was treated quickly, it could be OK within a few days, "but if you’re a little bit late it can be three

to four weeks so it makes sense just to look after him."

“If he was 23 (years old) we probably would have said he’s good to go, but we wanted to err on the side of caution.”

A three-time World Rugby Player of the Year, Carter left New Zealand after the 2015 World Cup to play in France, then Japan.

He made the decision to return to New Zealand this year when the Japan league was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Carter surprised many followers by linking with the Blues after playing all of his previous Super Rugby for the Christchurch-based Crusaders.

The Blues squad also includes current All Blacks flyhalf and two-time World Player of the Year Beauden Barrett.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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