Key Points:

Former All Blacks first five-eighth Tony Brown's rugby future is uncertain following a freak injury suffered while playing in Japan.

The 33-year-old injured his pancreas on October 25 while playing for Sanyo Wild Knights against Kintetsu Liners, Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported on its English-language website.

"I was blindsided and didn't see it coming," Brown said.

"I felt a bit uncomfortable for the rest of the game and then just after I started to feel rather sick, and developed a fever as my body started to react."

Brown spent five weeks in hospital with a ruptured pancreas. He also developed acute pancreatitis.

"They (the doctors) said it was quite severe and they needed to operate to save my life," Brown said.

"The operation went well and now it is a matter of recovering slowly and getting my body weight back up."

He hoped the injury would not cause long term problems, but if it did and there was any risk to his health, he would not continue to play.

"I want to play again but the most important thing is to stay healthy. "

Brown played 18 tests for the All Blacks, from 1999-2001.