Hurricanes prop John Schwalger has been sidelined for an indefinite period after being diagnosed with clots in his lungs.
The former All Black was withdrawn from the Hurricanes' replacements bench ahead of their 39-20 victory over the Blues in Wellington on Friday after he received a check-up on flu symptoms earlier in the week.
The 30-year-old's late withdrawal was a major setback to the Hurricanes who were also without the services of another All Black front-row Ben Franks, who missed the match with a groin injury.
But their young front row of Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles and Reggie Goodes stood up well against the Blues All black trio of Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu and Charlie Faumuina.
Toomaga-Allen said it was satisfying that the front row's work helped the Hurricanes to victory.
"Even though Franksy is out at the moment we've been trying to push for that next level each week, for excellence with the set piece and I think it's contributing to our wins," he told Fairfax Media
He admitted that Schwalger's medical condition was a "shock" to the team.
"He's in good spirits, but it's just out of the blue. We are just trying to have his back and whatever happens be 100 per cent behind him," added Toomaga-Allen.