New Zealand coach Graham Henry is keen to have lock Keith Robinson back to face the British and Irish Lions - but not at all costs.
The 27-year-old is making steady progress after surgery to his back and knee and his Super 12 franchise, the Chiefs, are hoping to have him back in action in April.
Robinson has not played rugby since the Pacific Islanders game against New Zealand in July last year and Henry admitted he had been sorely missed during the All Blacks failed Tri-Nations campaign.
"He brings that hard edge, which would be interesting against the Lions,"
the 2001 Lions coach said.
But Henry insisted Robinson would not be rushed back.
"We are very keen for Keith to be right. I talked to Ian Foster [Chiefs coach] the other day and he is on target to play in April.
"I don't think there is any point in rushing those things. Keith is 27 years old and if he doesn't come through this back surgery this time he won't play much more rugby again.
"It's important for us to be patient so that he has the opportunity to come through and if that means he doesn't play international rugby until later in the year that's the way it is. We need to consider the player rather than push him quickly for the Lions tour.
"I've talked to Keith a couple of times over the last month and he's pleased with his progress. He's hunting, shooting and fishing and he says his back feels good and that he's more worried about his knee at the moment which has always had a bit of a question mark."