Tottenham look set to be without Gareth Bale for at least three months after the defender injured his right foot against Birmingham.
Bale became Wales' youngest international in 2006
The 18-year-old Welshman limped out of Spurs' 3-2 defeat on 2 December following a tackle with Fabrice Muamba.
"Gareth will now undergo an examination under anaesthesia to determine the damage sustained to the foot," said sporting director Damien Comolli.
"The decision has been taken to bring him back slowly."
Comolli added on the club's website: "Gareth is obviously disappointed to be sidelined for this length of time but he is still young and we have to do what is best for him in the long run."
Bale's injury will be a severe blow to Tottenham as he has been one of the club's standout players, featuring at both left-back and in midfield.
The teenager - who joined Spurs in the summer from Southampton in a deal expected to be worth £10m - has impressed on the wing of late after being forced into a more advanced role because of the club's lack of personnel in that area.
Former boss Martin Jol had identified the left side of midfield as the area he needed to strengthen in the summer but no-one was brought in.
Bale's injury will intensify manager Juande Ramos' search for a left-sided player.
The Spaniard is already without Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee) for the remainder of the season and Ricardo Rocha is still out with an ankle problem, leaving Young-Pyo Lee as the only recognised left-back available.
Bale became Wales' youngest international when he played against Trinidad & Tobago in May last year, setting up a late winner.
And his injury will hit Wales manager John Toshack's preparations for the friendly against Norway at Wrexham's Racecourse in February.
Bale missed last month's Euro 2008 qualifiers against the Republic of Ireland and Germany after failing to recover from a foot injury sustained while playing for Spurs against Newcastle United in October.