Super Eagles first-choice goalkeeper Carl Ikeme is set for a long period of inactivity after being diagnosed with leukaemia, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Leukaemia is described as a group of cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow and result in high numbers of abnormal white blood cells. Symptoms may include bleeding and bruising problems, feeling tired, fever, and an increased risk of infections. These symptoms occur due to a lack of normal blood cells.
"It is with great sadness that Wolves can today reveal that Carl Ikeme has been diagnosed with acute leukaemia," Ikeme's English Championship club Wolverhampton Wanderers announced in a statement on their official website on Thursday.
"The 31-year-old Nigerian international goalkeeper returned some abnormal blood tests during his pre-season testing, and further medical investigation has revealed he is suffering from leukaemia.
"Carl will now start an immediate course of chemotherapy as he begins a lengthy battle against the disease."
Wolves' Managing Director Laurie Dalrymple told the website: “It would be an understatement to say that everyone at Wolves has been shocked and saddened to hear the news of Carl’s diagnosis.
“That relates to both players and staff as Carl has been at the club for a very long time and remains such an integral personality within the group.
“At the same time, we all know what a fighter and a competitor Carl is, and I have no doubt that he will take all of those attributes into this battle.
“Similarly, it goes without saying that Carl and his family will receive the full love and support that we at Wolves can provide – we are all with him every single step of the way towards a full recovery.
“There are going to be some very tough times ahead, but he will receive the best possible care, aided and supported by our own club doctor and medical team, as he embarks on the lengthy process of treatment.
“We are speaking to Carl regularly, and sending him our very best wishes as he comes to terms with this news and starts his recovery.”
"Carl and his family would request that their privacy be respected at this time, and any updates on his progress will be provided through the club," Wolves added in the statement.
Ikeme had his season cut down by injury last term, missing Wolves' league games and key Nigeria matches, but was enthusiastically looking forward to returning to full fitness this term to help his club and country before this unfortunate diagnosis.