Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has revealed that he could be set for an absence of "half a year".
The 31-year-old suffered a broken metatarsal in September, and may now face up to six months on the sidelines.
Neuer first sustained the injury in the second leg of Bayern's Champions League quarter-final defeat to Real Madrid in April.
He missed the remainder of the season, before making a brief comeback at the start of this campaign. But he experienced a recurrence of the injury in training and was expected to be out until the new year.
However, Neuer himself has doubted the likelihood of a January comeback, admitting that his return could be more complicated than first thought.
"The wound has to stay clean and heal by itself," he told FCBayern.tv. "Then the healing within the foot takes place. That can even take half a year.
"It hasn't been an easy for me and I am longing to be back on the pitch. Of course, it always depends on the healing process. My recovery is going well so far. I'm very positive and think I am making progress."
Bayern have had an unusually difficult start to the new season, sitting five points behind Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund with seven games played.
Jupp Heynckes has returned to coach the club until the end of the campaign after the dismissal of Carlo Ancelotti, and Neuer has expressed his hope that more success will come.
"We are in record mode with winning titles, no team has ever done this before," he added. "We want to extend this record and of course become champions for the sixth time in succession."