Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed that Thierry Henry's groin injury may keep him sidelined for six weeks.
Henry picked up the injury playing for France last week
The 28-year-old Gunners captain, who missed the 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough on Saturday, may be ruled out of eight Premiership and Champions League games.
It was intially thought he would face a four-week lay-off and Wenger said: "It may be four but I am counting six and then I can only have a good surprise.
"Ideally, we would like Thierry to be with us as he is a world-class player."
Wenger added: "But I feel it is a good opportunity for the younger players, such as Robin van Persie, Jose Antonio Reyes and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie to show how good they are."
Henry suffered the injury on international duty with France last week.
He is not available for Wednesday's Champions League opener at home to FC Thun and may miss the trips to Ajax and Sparta Prague.
He is also set to be ruled out of the Premiership games against Everton, West Ham and Birmingham - and possibly West Brom and Manchester City.
And he may also be sidelined for the Carling Cup third round and France's final two World Cup qualifying games.
"The injury has come and gone since last season," Henry told The Sun on Monday.
"When we were playing one match a week right at the start of the season it was not so bad.
"But now it is a game at the weekend and a game in the week. I have noticed the difference and the groin has become more painful.
"I knew my body was not right and I just have to rest. I do not want to copy what I did last season when I played on with an injury."
That Achilles tendon injury led to Henry missing the end of last season - including the FA Cup final win over Manchester United.