Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker will miss “a few months” of the season with a knee injury, according to manager Arsene Wenger.
Wenger refused to be drawn on exactly how long the centre-half was expected to be out.
The German World Cup winner faced Lens in a 1-1 pre-season friendly draw last week, but has not travelled with Arsene Wenger’s squad for their warm-up matches in the US.
Reports had suggested that he could be missing until Christmas.
Mertesacker, 31, adds to Arsenal’s problems with Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel also missing.
Calum Chambers is the first team’s only fit central defender.
Mertesacker was set to be named captain after the retirement of midfielder Mikel Arteta, who has joined Pep Guardiola’s coaching staff at Manchester City.
Gabriel has tonsillitis with Koscielny apparently set to miss the start of the Premier League season after his run to the Euro 2016 final with France.