Any lingering hope of Wayne Rooney making the World Cup Finals will almost certainly be crushed if initial reports relating to his latest scan are confirmed.
Rooney spent Tuesday afternoon at the exclusive BUPA medical centre at Whalley Range having further tests on the right foot he damaged at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Manchester United are yet to release an official bulletin on the results of the new scans but, according to The Sun, rather than one break, they showed a cluster of breaks, which they claim could sideline Rooney for up to three months.
If such a gloomy scenario is eventually confirmed, Rooney would not only miss the entire World Cup but also the opening stages of United's pre-season programme, including their three-match tour of South Africa.
In an interview prior to his hospital visit yesterday, Rooney insisted he would remain positive, though, even at that stage, his chances of going to Germany appeared remote.
'Obviously I am devastated to break my foot,' he told MUTV.
'At this moment in time it is horrible really. But you have to get on with it, be positive and try to get myself fit as soon as possible.
'I know that with the physio team behind me at Manchester United they will be giving me the best possible chance.'
While the latest official medical bulletin is awaited from Old Trafford with eager anticipation, it already appears Sir Alex Ferguson was totally justified in his attempts to dampen down expectation about Rooney's chances of making the World Cup.
Ferguson claimed it would be `impossible' for a player to be in plaster for six weeks, then prepare for a possible World Cup quarter-final on the back of just a fortnight's training.
Irrespective of his personal feelings about Rooney going to Germany - which Ferguson insists he wants to see - there is no way the Scot would allow his prize asset to risk his fitness for the start of next season by rushing his comeback for what he perceived to be a foolhardy exercise doomed to failure.
So, it seems Rooney's next competitive outing will not be until August, either in the opening Premiership game on August 19 or a Champions League qualifier 10 days earlier should United fail to secure runners-up spot by beating Charlton without him at Old Trafford on Sunday.