Derby County centre-half Shaun Barker has said he is unlikely to return to action until September.
Barker was plagued by a knee injury that affected his training last season but still managed to play in all but three games for the Rams.
The 28-year-old had surgery in the summer and hoped he would be fully fit to start the new campaign.
But Barker told BBC Radio Derby: "You never know but realistically the first month is doubtful."
Derby kick off their Championship season on Saturday, 6 August with a home game against Birmingham.
And although he expects to miss the first few fixtures, Barker has not completely given up hope of returning earlier.
He added: "I am not trying to put a timescale on things at the moment. It could be a big plus and we could find out it is going a lot quicker than expected."