France star Franck Ribery believes the ankle injury he suffered at Euro 2008 is the worst of his career, and admits he does not yet know exactly when he will return.
The 25-year-old Bayern Munich playmaker ruptured ligaments in his left ankle during Les Bleus' 2-0 defeat to Italy in their final group-stage clash of a woeful European Championships in Switzerland.
The damage was successfully repaired by surgeons in Germany two days after the game on June 17, but a month later Ribery is still unsure when he will be able to play again.
'It's without doubt the most serious injury I suffered in my career,' he told French newspaper L'Equipe. 'But it could've been even worse. That's what I feared at first, thinking my knee was injured too. I've been lucky.
'Frankly, it's impossible to say when I'll return. I'm simply hoping to start running again in September. I hope everything is going to go well.'
Despite having no set date for his return, Ribery insisted he was recovering well.
'I feel a lot better. In terms of morale I feel great,' he said. 'I'm happy to be back with my club, the directors and my team-mates. That makes me feel good,' he continued in France Football magazine.
'At present, I hope to get back into competition as soon as possible. But I have to be careful, as it's an injury that takes time to heal.'
As things stand Ribery is definitely set to miss the start of the new Bundesliga campaign on August 15, and France's World Cup qualifying games with Austria then Serbia on September 6 and 10.
Those games are part of a trio of matches in which France coach Raymond Domenech will be trying to prove he is the man to lead Les Bleus to the 2010 tournament in South Africa.
The controversial coach has come under immense pressure due to his side's lacklustre performances in Euro 2008.
Ribery has been one of Domenech's most vocal supporters, and he again insisted it was a source of pride having the 56-year-old as national team boss.
'I'm very happy (that Domenech has kept his job), because he is someone who I admire greatly and who has done a lot for me,' he continued in France Football.
'I'm proud that he is still the France coach. We're going to pull out all the stops to make sure everything goes well with him.'