Cardiff City and Republic of Ireland midfielder Stephen McPhail has been diagnosed with a form of cancer.
McPhail, 29, is to undergo three weeks treatment for stage one MALT lymphoma.
He was told five weeks after he had surgery to remove a lump from his neck and tests revealed he had the uncommon form of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
"Early stage disease usually causes few symptoms. It is more likely to go away completely after treatment," the Lymphoma Association said.
A Cardiff statement said McPhail could start playing football in January - when the former Leeds United star was set to return anyway after an operation on a thigh injury.
"He has had a torrid week," said Cardiff boss Dave Jones.
"But the news is the best he could probably get with the illness he has got.
"We were pleased with his news and when I spoke to him he was bouncing because it was really good news for him.
"He still has to have treatment but credit to our medical staff because they caught the problem at an early stage - and that is the most important thing for Steve and his family."
Lymphomas are cancers of the lymphatic system which is part of the body's immune system.
The Lymphoma Association confirms that "the most common symptom of lymphoma is a painless lump or swelling in the neck, armpit or groin."
The association advises that early stage low grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma - stage one or two - "may have little impact on how you feel."
"[The speed of recovery] will depend on which lymph nodes are affected, and what tissues are nearby," the association says.
McPhail, who joined Cardiff from Barnsley in a free transfer in the summer of 2006, has won 10 international caps for the Republic, the last of which came against Nigeria in 2004.
He has played 10 games this season but has been out since sustaining a thigh injury in the 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest on 1 November.