Wayne Rooney will undergo a scan in eight days' time which may determine whether he is fit to play for England at the World Cup.
The Manchester United striker, 20, is considered highly unlikely to be available for the group games against Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago and Sweden.
The broken metatarsal in his foot, which Rooney suffered against Chelsea on April 29, means he continues to be treated in Manchester and has not joined up with his international colleagues at their Portugal training camp this week.
Rooney may not be with England at all this summer if the scan next Thursday, May 25, shows worse than expected results.
Manchester United have been cautiously pleased with Rooney's progress, but they insist he will not be released for England duty until he can be passed fully fit.
And England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson said today: 'After May 25 we will know much better what is going to happen with Wayne Rooney.
'I hope we play Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen up front but Steven Gerrard is an option there.
'We have to wait until after May 25 to see how the scan is,' said Eriksson.
'We will be much more clever after the 25th.'
He added on Sky Sports News: 'It would be a pity (if Rooney did not make it).
'Our chances would have been better with him fully fit but that's life.
'Our chances don't stand or fall with Wayne Rooney.'
If Rooney is ruled out, Eriksson would have a choice of replacements after placing both Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe and Crystal Palace's Andrew Johnson on standby for the tournament.
But, of his original squad, he would be left with only Liverpool's Peter Crouch and Arsenal's untried 17-year-old Theo Walcott as support to Newcastle frontman Owen.
That has prompted him to consider Gerrard as a support striker for the finals in Germany.
The Liverpool captain scored two stunning goals against West Ham in Saturday's FA Cup final and was prolific for his club all season.
'I've known for many years Steven Gerrard can play a lot of positions and one is second striker,' said Eriksson.
'I'm sure he could also play as a first striker, and he's also excellent at right-back.
'It depends a lot on what's going to happen with Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney.
'We haven't decided yet where we're going to use him (Gerrard).'
Owen's own fitness, after a similar broken foot injury to the one Rooney sustained, has been encouraging in England's latest training sessions.
'He looks in very good shape, scoring [in training] yesterday, scoring today, and he's hungry to play football. That's very good,' said Eriksson.
'He looked 100% fit yesterday and today. I am very confident he will be absolutely perfect for the World Cup and so is he and very, very hungry.'