New Zealand midfielder Tim Brown will undergo shoulder surgery on Thursday in the hope of being fit for the World Cup.
The 29-year-old fractured his right shoulder in a challenge with Vince Grella during Monday's 2-1 friendly defeat to Australia in Melbourne.
Brown arrived back in Auckland on Tuesday night and, after meeting with an orthopaedic surgeon, the All Whites vice-captain was scheduled in for an operation on Thursday in a bid to keep his World Cup ambitions alive.
New Zealand face Slovakia in their opener in Rustenburg on 15th June, but Brown admits there is only a '50-50' chance of him making it to South Africa.
"I'm trying to be real positive about that at the moment," said Brown.
"But there's also a chance I won't be able to go. If that's the case, I'll put my hand up straight away and someone else can take my place. I'm not going to muck anyone around."
New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert will allow Brown as much time as possible to prove his fitness after the midfielder played a key role in getting the All Whites to the World Cup for the first time since 1982.
"Tim's an integral part of the team. He's been a big part of things for the last five years and he does a great job for us," said Herbert.
"It'll be a big loss should he not make it."
Wellington midfielder Cole Peverley is likely to step in for Brown should he not regain full fitness in time for the tournament.
New Zealand, who are travelling to their training camp in Austria, will play friendlies against Serbia and Slovenia ahead of a training match against Chile in South Africa.