Wayne Rooney will not be able to kick a ball in anger for at least eight weeks, according to a leading physiotherapist.
That would rule the 20-year-old Manchester United striker out of England's World Cup bid until the quarter-final stage.
Rooney's hopes of playing a major role in Germany were damaged at the weekend when he broke his fourth metatarsal in the defeat by Chelsea.
Chartered physiotherapist Sammy Margo, who has worked in professional football, gave an insight into the injury.
She said: 'It will take six weeks for the bone to heal. In that time you lose some muscle strength, some of your range of movement and some of your balance.
'In football these factors are fundamental. As he is only 20 Wayne Rooney will have high powers of recovery but he needs to work on other factors.
'We are looking at eight weeks optimistically before he can consider playing again.
'In the meantime I am sure he will have intense physio to help optimise the healing of the bone.'
Should England progress from Group B, they would play their last-16 match on either June 24 or 25.
The quarter-finals are then being staged on June 30 and July 1.
Margo believes it is no coincidence metatarsal fractures have become more common since the introduction of lightweight boots.
Apart from Rooney, David Beckham, Michael Owen, Gary Neville and Ledley King have all had to endure spells on the sidelines because of the problem.
She said: 'The boots are lighter as you want more precision and more control. The bone, however, is less protected as it is only two centimetres in from the side of the foot and may be weakened during the game.
'If you have no support around that part of the foot the bone may become more vulnerable. While you might become fitter playing more matches, you might start to weaken things as a result.
'Players are not having the same amount of rest as they did before and that is a factor in injuries occurring as they do.'