Chelsea have left Michael Ballack out of their Champions League squad despite the possibility he could be fit to play in four of their six group matches.
Ballack has not played since April
The 31-year-old German international had an ankle operation in the summer and on Friday Chelsea decided not to register him for the competition.
That means Ballack cannot play before the knockout stages begin in February.
"We couldn't guarantee his availability for the majority of group phase games," a Chelsea spokesman told BBC Sport.
"That rules him out for all games as we cannot change the list until January."
The fact that Chelsea are unable to find a place in their 25-man squad for Ballack when he may be fit for some of their Group B games is likely to fuel speculation about his future.
However, Germany coach Joachim Low has said he is hopeful Ballack will be fit to play in his country's Euro 2008 qualifying match against the Republic of Ireland on 13 October.
And if that is the case, Ballack would be fit for all of Chelsea's Champions League matches except September's home tie against Rosenborg and their trip to Valencia on 3 October.
But Chelsea believe that is an unlikely scenario and have decided against the gamble.
A statement from the club read: "We hope Michael's recovery is as quick as possible.
"We hope Michael returns to full training soon so that he will then be available for the Champions League latter stages."