New Zealand are hoping Tim Brown will not be ruled out of the World Cup finals after fracturing his shoulder against Australia.
Brown suffered the injury during the first half of New Zealand's 2-1 friendly defeat by Australia on Monday and is now a major doubt for the World Cup.
He went to hospital for scans which revealed the fracture and he will miss the All Whites' upcoming warm-up matches against Serbia, Slovenia and Chile in Europe.
Coach Ricki Herbert will give Brown, who has been a key component in getting the team to the World Cup, every chance to rejoin the squad in South Africa and believes the midfielder's prospects hinge on whether he requires surgery.
"We're hoping he won't be ruled out. We would fly him to South Africa, that's what I want," said Herbert.
"I'll give him as long as he needs, but the problem is if he has surgery it's only three weeks to the opening game."
Herbert has seven players on standby as injury cover for his 23-man squad and Wellington midfielder Cole Peverley would be the likely replacement should Brown be ruled out.
There was more positive news regarding midfielder Leo Bertos who was stretchered off with a leg injury inside the first half-hour of Monday's game.
Bertos, who was caught in crude tackles by Vince Grella and Tim Cahill in quick succession, suffered a nasty gash to his lower leg, but avoided serious injury and has been cleared to travel to Europe.
New Zealand have been drawn in Group F in the World Cup and face Slovakia in their opening game on 15th June before meetings with Italy and Paraguay.