Jermain Defoe will miss England's European Championship qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland after being forced to undergo groin surgery.
The Tottenham striker will go under the knife next week in a bid to cure a problem that has dogged him since the World Cup. Spurs boss Harry Redknapp revealed the 27-year-old will be out for a minimum of two weeks and maybe even as long as a month.
That would mean he will sit out his club's Premier League games against West Brom and Wolves, on top of England's Euro 2012 openers on September 3 and 7.
He had been due to have the operation last Thursday but the German specialist who recently performed a similar operation on team-mate Alan Hutton was unavailable until next week.
Defoe missed Saturday's Premier League win at Stoke after aggravating the problem but he is expected to play some part in Wednesday's Champions League clash with Young Boys.
"He's not trained a lot,'' Redknapp said. "When he has trained, he's been all right, he's been sticking goals in. But then he's had days off where he couldn't train. And he's getting worse, he's getting worse all the time. Sixty minutes is about as much as he can last.''
Redknapp, who has yet to decide whether Defoe will start on Wednesday, added: "It might only be half a game he can last now, but it's getting less each time - the pain's getting worse.
"He wants to play and train all the time but he's got to have it done now. He can't go on like that.''
Defoe's injury helps explain his goalless start to the season, but Redknapp still hopes he breaks his duck before his operation.
"Tomorrow night might be the night for him to come back with a bang and start scoring a few,'' Redknapp said. "I don't want to pile pressure on him about it. He scores goals in training every day.''