Auckland Blues scrum half Piri Weepu will miss at least four weeks of the Super Rugby season after it was found he had suffered a minor stroke.
Weepu, 30, had complained of migraine-like symptoms dating back to the start of March and had scans on Monday.
Club medical staff said the stroke was not a rugby-related condition and suggested his position with the Blues, where he is regularly and closely monitored, may have actually helped.
“Piri and his family have the full support of the organisation,” Blues coach John Kirwan said.
“He’s getting the best possible care and advice and we are grateful this has been picked up by our medical experts, as often minor strokes remain undetected.”
Weepu will undergo further tests under the watchful eyes of team doctor Stephen Kara and New Zealand Rugby medical director Ian Murphy to find the cause of the stroke which looks to have occurred before a tour of South Africa in early March.
“Piri presented with transient symptoms that could have been from a migraine before he travelled and was cleared by specialists to travel, as long as he was monitored,” Kara said.
“He had no other symptoms to raise further concern while we were away.
“We took the precaution of getting an MRI scan for him this week and we are thankful we are now getting to the bottom of this issue.
“This was a minor stroke and he is expected to make a full recovery,” he added.
“However any stroke is serious for anyone at any age and we must now take the time to fully understand the cause of it and the implications for Piri.”