Franck Ribery looks likely to be sidelined until 2010 after his doctor revealed the full extent of his persistent knee injury.
Reports suggested earlier this week that the Bayern Munich playmaker would be out for around a month, meaning he would miss France's World Cup play-off against Republic of Ireland as well as a number of key games for his club.
However, Professor Jean-Henri Jaeger has now estimated that Ribery will not be fit to return to action for a minimum of two months, while he could also face surgery if treatment fails.
With the Bundesliga breaking for the winter after 20th December, Ribery is therefore facing a long wait before he can get back on the pitch.
"It's one month's treatment, plus one month's rehabilitation," said the specialist.
"So that means two month's minimum before Ribery returns to the game. If it works, he will be able to play again. If it does not work, it will require surgery."
The 26-year-old has been hampered by tendinitis in his left knee all season and France's deputy national coach Alain Boghossian expects him to undergo surgery.
"Bayern does want him to have an operation. They are mulling it over," said Boghossian.
Ribery's agent has confirmed the player could need an operation if his recovery did not go as hoped.
"After consulting Professor (Jean-Henri) Jaeger, we will give it four weeks to see how the injury evolves," Jean-Pierre Bernes told Canal+.
"We spoke with the Bayern management. An operation is possible if the recovery is not satisfactory."