Fears are growing that Ledley King may play no further part in the World Cup after the Tottenham defender picked up a groin injury in the first half of England's 1-1 draw against the USA on Saturday evening.
Reports suggest the England coaching team believe King faces at least three weeks on the sidelines which will be when the semi-finals take place.
Fabio Capello confirmed the centre-half injured an abductor muscle in the opening moments of the weekend draw at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium although King played on until being replaced by Jamie Carragher at the interval.
It had been hoped that the 28-year-old would only miss Friday's game against Algeria in Cape Town but that now appears to have been too upbeat a prediction.
King has a history of injury problems and is unable to train properly because of his knee problems.
His injury leaves Capello with a central defensive headache as Rio Ferdinand has returned home after sustaining a knee injury during training so the Italian has only Carragher, Matthew Upson and Michael Dawson available as potential partners for John Terry.
"We have those three defenders," said Capello. "I hope we will not have any more injuries."