Arjen Robben looks set to miss out on all of Holland's group fixtures at Euro 2008.
The Dutch had hoped that the Real Madrid winger, who is carrying a groin injury, would only be sidelined for their opening fixture against World Champions Italy on Monday.
However, with the problem showing no signs of improvement, it is feared that the former Chelsea man will be out of action until the quarter-finals at least.
The news comes a huge blow to Marco van Basten who is now desperately short of options on the left of midfield.
Liverpool's Ryan Babel had initially been pencilled in to fill the role, but having pulled out of the squad with a knock of his own Robben was drafted in.
The tricky playmaker looked in fine form during Holland's pre-tournament warm-up games and his manager is holding out hope that he will not be without one of his most creative players for too long.
"He will be out seven to ten days, in the most positive case a little bit less," Van Basten said.
"He's an important player, especially when he is on form and we will really miss him against Italy. But we came through a portion of the qualifiers without him and other injured players.
"Therefore we are capable of playing and winning without him. We have also found a good solution (to replace him) but I won't tell you which one."
Holland are in the so-called 'Group of Death' and look set to be without Robben for further clashes against much-fancied France and unpredictable Romania.