In a text message to The Associated Press, Mark Howe said the test showed his father didn't have a "big stroke" on Monday. He couldn't immediately provide other details of the MRI, including whether he'd sustained a minor stroke. He said the family planned to release a statement.
Earlier Tuesday, the hockey player's daughter, Cathy Purnell, said her father suffered a "significant stroke" on Monday, which would have been his third since late October. Howe was stable and "a little bit alert" Tuesday morning, and doctors at a Lubbock hospital where he was taken were scheduled to do additional tests, she said.
"He's a fighter," Purnell said. "The man is tough. He has this will to keep going, all things considered."
The man known as "Mr. Hockey" set NHL marks with 801 goals and 1,850 points, mostly with the Detroit Red Wings, records later broken by Wayne Gretzky.
Purnell said therapists who have been tending to Howe arrived at her house Monday morning and discovered him nonresponsive in bed. Howe remained that way until evening, when Purnell said he recognized family members once he became alert.
Howe suffered what his children called a serious stroke in late October and another in early November. He has been staying at his daughter's home in Lubbock.
She said the family wants to get the 86-year-old Howe back to her house as soon as possible.
"It scares the daylight out of me," Purnell said, adding that she told him Monday night to "stop pulling these games on me. He gave me a smile. His sense of humour is intact."
Jeff McMurray in Chicago contributed to this report.