Frank Lampard flew back to London on Thursday night with Chelsea's medical team on alert amid fears he could be out for seven weeks with a torn thigh muscle.
England midfielder Lampard pulled up during a training session at Doha's Al Saad ground on Thursday, underwent a scan on his left leg and was sent home by England doctors.
He was expected to land in the early hours of this morning and go straight to Chelsea's training ground in Surrey to be assessed by the club's medical team.
Lampard, 31, is unlikely to play again this year if the thigh muscle is as badly torn as some fear, which would be a serious blow to the Barclays Premier League leaders.
Blues brothers: Lampard (right) and Chelsea team-mate John Terry are put through their paces at London Colney earlier in the week
Last month, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti voiced his concern overthe amount of games played by Lampard and John Terry, before restingthem both from a Carling Cup tie against Bolton.
'They want to play every game but it's better sometimes to rest,' said Ancelotti ominously.
Tomorrow's friendly international against Brazil would have beenLampard's 59th game of the calendar year, not including pre-seasonfriendlies, and his season will extend into July if England reach thelatter stages of the World Cup in South Africa.
Lampard's withdrawal from the squad means manager Fabio Capello hasonly three players fit and available from what is generally consideredto be his preferred line up John Terry, Gareth Barry and Wayne Rooney.
In the frame: At least Wayne Rooney is fit to go and proving popular among the locals in Doha
Lampard joins David James, Glen Johnson, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole,Theo Walcott, Steven Gerrard and Emile Heskey on an extensive casualtylist, which offers the fringe players a chance to impress in Doha.
Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick will replace Lampard and Jermain Defoe is vying with his Tottenham team-mate Peter Crouch for the chance to lead the line.
Defoe missed England's last game, against Belarus, with broken fingers. His season was further interrupted by a red card and a three-match ban for stamping on Portsmouth's Aaron Mokoena and headmits he feared Capello's reaction to his fit of temper at FrattonPark.
'He's told us it's one of the most important things, to keep 11players on the pitch,' said Defoe. 'You just can't afford to do that,especially in a massive tournament.
'Going down to 10 men gives the other team the advantage and you could lose the game. You let your team-mates down, your country down, the manager and the staff down.
'You have to be professional and keep a cool head.'
Lesson learned: Defoe
Rooney's red card proved costly for England in the World Cupquarter-final against Portugal in 2006, as did David Beckham's againstArgentina, eight years earlier.
'Maybe because it was a big game, going back to my old club and Iwas getting a bit of stick,' said Defoe, explaining his red cardagainst Portsmouth. 'Maybe I was too fired up before the game. But it'ssomething that won't happen again.
'Some people try to wind you up. If I was a defender, I'd probablydo the same. If you're playing against a forward who's a threat, youdon't want him on the pitch. You don't want him to play and if you getan advantage by doing it, you're going to wind him up. So it'simportant to try and keep cool.'
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Explore more:People:Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard, Theo Walcott, Carlo Ancelotti, Emile Heskey, MICHAEL CARRICK, Peter Crouch, Wayne Rooney, Aaron Mokoena, Jermain Defoe, Fabio Capello, David Beckham, David James, John Terry, Gareth Barry, Frank LampardPlaces:Surrey, London, South Africa, Argentina, United Kingdom, Portugal, Brazil, Fratton Park