John Terry looks increasingly unlikely to feature for England this weekend after sitting out training on Thursday.
The national skipper has been struggling with a back complaint all week, seriously hindering his preparations ahead of the 2010 World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan at Wembley on Saturday.
The Chelsea defender was put through some light exercises on Wednesday, but was forced to watch on from the sidelines 24 hours later.
With Fabio Capello stressing in the past that he is unwilling to risk players that are not fully fit time appears to be running out for Terry.
The uncompromising centre-half has continuously put his body on the line throughout his domestic and international career, determined to be a leader for both club and country.
However, with England set to travel to Belarus next Wednesday for a potentially hazardous encounter, the patriotic captain may be rested from weekend action.
With that in mind, Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is ready to take the armband for Saturday's game.
Matthew Upson, Wes Brown and Joleon Lescott are all vying for a starting spot alongside Ferdinand, with Lescott tipped to get the nod.
While Terry's setback has come as a blow to Capello's plans the Italian has no other concerns at present.
Emile Heskey and Jermain Defoe were considered slight doubts with back problems of their own, but both came through training on Thursday unscathed.