Fulham boss Martin Jol fears goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg may require surgery on a persistent shoulder injury.
The Dutchman was drafted in to Craven Cottage over the summer as a replacement for the outgoing Mark Schwarzer, but sustained the problem on the opening day of the Premier League season.
That problem has since been aggravated in training, preventing the 31-year-old from returning to first team action.
With there no indication as to when the Holland international will be ready to return, an operation has become a distinct possibility.
Jol will give Stekelenburg until the international break to work on his fitness, but a decision will then be made on whether he needs to go under the knife.
“If it is not right in two weeks’ time, then he will probably need an operation,” said Jol.
“It’s already five weeks now, so it’s certainly long term.
“He had a few injections in his shoulder and it’s quite sensitive.
“He trains but when he stretches he feels a lot of pain, so we have to be very careful.”