The Blues franchise is gearing up for a Super Rugby season without Patrick Tuipulotu, but will continue to support the All Black lock during his indefinite absence.
The giant second-rower will not report for duty as expected this week and has been given all the time he needs to resolve "ongoing personal issues" that saw him return home early from the national team's Northern Hemisphere tour last November.
Blues assistant coach Steve Jackson told Newstalk ZB's Tony Veitch that details of his absence were sketchy, but the players had been notified of Tuipulotu's struggles.
"As a club, that's as far as what we know, and we'll give Patty every opportunity and some space," said Jackson. "We fully support his decision and whatever's going on in his personal life.
"We're not too sure what's going on and we just have to get on with what we're doing at the moment - training and getting ready for our first pre-season game against the Hurricanes."
Jackson confirmed that Tuipulotu had been a regular visitor to the Blues training facility in recent weeks, as he fulfilled his pre-season strength and conditioning programme.
"He's been in a good space, but obviously we didn't know there were personal things going on at the moment. He's always smiling and shaking hands and working hard at the gym.
"We understand people will have their thoughts about this and I'm sure everyone, at some point in time, has had issues that they've struggled and had to deal with.
"Those sorts of things, they'll take a bit of time. We're able to give him that, and hopefully he comes back in a great frame of mind and prepared to play well for our club."
Tuipulotu was expected to be a key contributor to the engine room of the Blues scrum this season, their second under coach and former All Black captain Tana Umaga.
"He's an All Black, a quality footballer and a quality guy, but we have some other guys we believe can step and fill his role," said Jackson. "He'd be a loss in any team, but we fully support what he's doing."