Michael Owen appears set to have surgery to prevent a hernia - as well to repair his injured groin.
Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce has confirmed his England striker is being advised he needs to have his stomach lining strengthened and his torn adductor muscle also treated.
Owen, 27, is therefore thought almost certain to miss next month's crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers against Estonia and Russia.
Allardyce told The Sun: 'Michael has seen a specialist in Manchester who has advised him to get the stomach lining strengthened, while he is having a tear in his adductor muscle repaired.
'The idea is to prevent him getting a hernia. The last thing we want is him to come back in three weeks' time and for the weakness to turn into a hernia problem.
'We're hopeful he won't be out for too long - because it is a relatively straightforward procedure.'