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Cruden escapes thumb surgery
April 8, 2014
The Chiefs' Aaron Cruden celebrates a try with Liam Messam, Chiefs v Crusaders, Super Rugby, Super Rugby semi-final, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, July 27, 2013
Cruden suffered a broken thumb during the Chiefs' draw against the Cheetahs © Getty Images
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Aaron Cruden's broken thumb won't need surgery, and the Chiefs' first five-eighth is expected to return to play in six weeks.

The All Blacks No.10 and Chiefs co-captain fractured his left thumb during the Chiefs' 43-43 draw with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Sunday (NZT). Cruden completed the game, landing a conversion after the hooter to level the scores, but an X-ray later confirmed a fracture.

"After further assessment it has been decided that Aaron Cruden does not require an operation, and will return to play in the expected time frame of six weeks," the Chiefs said in a statement.

The injury puts a cloud over the 29-Test veteran's availability for the three-Test home series against England in June. The first Test is in Auckland on June 7. Veteran first five-eighth Daniel Carter will miss that series after negotiating a six-month break from rugby to rest and recover from injuries. Cruden and Hurricanes playmaker Beauden Barrett are the leading candidates to start at No.10 against England.

© AAP
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