Captain Winston Reid is out of New Zealand's internationals against China and Thailand.
The West Ham defender is reported to have aggravated a leg problem when playing for his club in their 0-0 draw against Aston Villa.
He was forced off with the problem in the 2-2 draw at Stoke last weekend, with the club saying he had suffered a dead leg.
Reid was able to return for the Villa game and played the full 90 minutes, but the Hammers told New Zealand Football that the problem has surfaced again.
It is a blow for the All Whites as they look to rebuild under new coach Anthony Hudson.
The coach said: "I've been close with Winston and the club since he got injured. It's no real shock that it's occurred because of the type of injury he has. It's a shame."
New Zealand, who lost their World Cup qualifier last November against Mexico, have only played three games since then.
It's no real shock that it's occurred because of the type of injury he has. It's a shame.Anthony Hudson
They lost 4-2 in Japan and held South Africa 0-0 before appointing former Bahrain coach Hudson, whose first match in charge was September's 3-1 defeat away to Uzbekistan.
They face China in Nanchang on Friday and then travel to Nakhon Ratchasima to take on Thailand on 18th November.
Hudson has brought in 18-year-old Central United centre-back Adam Mitchell to replace Reid in the squad.
Mitchell has played for New Zealand under-20s and the coach said: "This is an opportunity for another very promising player. He's got a great future ahead of him and won't be out of place with this step up."
The All Whites will also be without Wellington Phoenix pair Louis Fenton and Tom Doyle.
Fenton dislocated his shoulder in Wellington's 1-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday, while Doyle has been ruled out with an ongoing foot injury.
Wellington Phoenix's next game is against Adelaide United on Saturday and both players are likely to be missing. They are 6/1 to beat United, who are 4/9 to win, with the draw 7/2.
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