Edwin van der Sar is facing up to eight weeks on the sidelines after undergoing finger surgery.
The Manchester United goalkeeper has gone under the knife after breaking a bone in his left hand.
The 38-year-old sustained the injury during United's Audi Cup defeat against Bayern Munich in Germany.
Saving Danijel Pranjic's spot-kick in a 7-6 penalty shootout reverse saw the Dutchman pick up the knock.
He will now be unavailable to Sir Alex Ferguson for the start of the new Premier League season.
That will enable either Ben Foster of Tomasz Kuszczak to stake a claim for a regular starting berth.