Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath has been forced to wipe Patrick Helmes out of his plans until well after the winter break.
Magath had intended to name the ex-Bayer Leverkusen striker his skipper for the new season after relieving out-of-form Christian Trasch of the captaincy.
But the 28-year-old then suffered a cruciate ligament injury in Wolfsburg's pre-season friendly with Manchester City last Saturday.
The former Germany international, who scored 12 goals in 16 games after being recalled by Magath last season, is now set for a six-month lay-off.
"We have to accept he will be off for about half a year," Magath told Deutsche Presseagentur.
"I keep in regular contact with him. He has undergone the surgery and will start rehabilitation training as soon as possible.
"He will need time to recover, it will take some time for him to come back."
Helmes joined Wolfsburg in a £4.5million move from Leverkusen in January 2011 and is contracted until June 2014.