Newcastle striker Michael Owen has told BBC Sport he might not play again this season as he continues his recovery from a cruciate ligament injury.
I reckon I could have jogged about two to three weeks ago - but I won't rush things
The 27-year-old, injured playing for England at last year's World Cup, had been set for a comeback in April.
"I haven't had any setbacks. Hopefully I can return this season, but it could be next season," he told BBC Sport.
Magpies boss Glenn Roeder said that was open to "different interpretations" but he would not force Owen's comeback.
Roeder warned that it was not in anyone's interest for a return date to be set, in case Owen could not meet it and people interpreted this as a cause for concern,
"With someone like Michael Owen, it is best for us not to say `We believe he will be back on this specific date'," he said.
"Because he is a world-renowned footballer, if he does not make that date, then all hell is let loose and he has had a setback."
Owen said he was close to stepping up his recuperation.
"The plan is to run next week, although I reckon I could have jogged about two to three weeks ago - but I won't rush things," said the former Liverpool and Real Madrid player.
Newcastle have been fantastic from the moment I picked up my injury
Owen also paid tribute to Newcastle for helping him during a "low point" in his career.
"They've been fantastic right from the moment when I picked up my injury," said Owen, speaking at an Umbro-Michelin boot launch in London.
"They paid for the best and most expensive treatment by sending me to Colorado where I underwent two operations carried out by Dr Richard Steadman, who is a fantastic chap.
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"I now have one-to-one physio every day with the guy who worked with team-mate Kieron Dyer when he was injured.
"I definitely benefit from the one-to-one stuff because it's good to have someone staring at you, pushing you through the pain barrier."
He added: "It's been a frustrating time but I'm a level headed type of person. I've had a good career so far.
"There have been a lot of ups and a lot of downs but that's the life of a professional footballer. I'm at a low point now because I can't do what I want to do."
Owen also sent his sympathies to England team-mate Ashley Cole, who suffered knee ligament damage while playing for Chelsea against Blackburn on Wednesday.
"When you mess with knees it's a nasty situation," he said.
"Not many knee injuries are a week or two. I can only wish him the best and I'll be in touch with him if it's a criuciate."