Melbourne Victory have confirmed captain Carl Valeri will miss the remainder of the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season as he continues to recover from an inflammatory condition affecting part of his brain.
Despite showing continual improvement, a mutual decision was made between Valeri and the club to give him the necessary time to dedicate to his recovery.
"Carl developed incoordination and balance problems eight weeks ago. Extensive tests and specialist neurological reviews have determined an isolated inflammatory process affecting a small part of the brain. The exact cause of this inflammation is unknown," said Melbourne Victory club doctor Krishant Naidu.
"Carl's condition has continued to improve with treatment, but he has not recovered sufficiently to be able to return to football training.
"As such he will be unavailable for the remainder of the Hyundai A-League season. The inflammation remains isolated and continues to decrease in size.
"We are optimistic that Carl will continue to make a full recovery. This is expected to take a few months.
"Carl will continue his rehabilitation under supervision and devote his energies to his recovery."
Victory head coach Kevin Muscat said the coaching staff and players will continue to offer Valeri all the support he needs.
"We have said all along that returning to full health should be Carl's number one priority, before he considers playing again," he said.
"While we have missed his on-field presence in the last two months, we want to make sure he concentrates on getting his health right, without the pressure of returning sooner than he should."
Valeri has played four games in the current campaign, the last against Adelaide United in Round 8 on November 28 last year.
"It has been a frustrating time for me not being able to join my teammates on the pitch for the last few months," he said.
"The doctors have been happy with the progress I've been making, but they believe it's the best thing for me to take the right amount of time to recover fully.
"I'm grateful to the club for taking the view that they have and I look forward to returning on a full-time basis and leading the team again.
"I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Melbourne Victory and all the members and fans who have wished me well and respected my privacy during this time."
Leigh Broxham, who has been deputising in Valeri's absence, will be acting captain for the rest of the season.