Rio Ferdinand's hopes of appearing at South Africa 2010 are hanging in the balance after the England captain left hospital on crutches following a knee injury he sustained in training this lunchtime.
Ferdinand went down in agony and was sent for a scan by manager Fabio Capello amid fears he had suffered ligament damage.
The Football Association have still to make an official comment on the Manchester United defender's injury but at this stage it looks possible he has suffered a major injury and Tottenham's Michael Dawson has been placed on stand-by.
Ferdinand had been optimistic of enjoying an injury-free FIFA World Cup™ after a season dogged by problems at Manchester United.
He was able to feature in barely a third of their Premier League campaign but had trained with no setbacks during England's two-week camp in Austria and also came through the friendly internationals with Mexico and Japan unscathed.
Goalkeeper David James also missed training today but Capello is less concerned with that situation and insisted the 39-year-old had "only a slight knee problem".
Gareth Barry did train on the Royal Bafokeng training pitches this morning. Barry had been an extreme doubt to make Capello's 23-man squad for the tournament when he suffered ankle ligament damage in Manchester City's defeat to Tottenham at Eastlands on 5 May.
However, the 29-year-old improved to the extent that Capello was able to pick him in the belief that he will be fit to play a full part in training on the day after England's Group C opener against USA in Rustenburg on 12 June.
In itself, the sight of Barry going through his paces during the early part of a training session - only the first portion of which was open for public viewing - confirmed nothing.
Yet there is an obvious indication that by the time England go into battle next weekend, the midfielder could be fit, which would save Capello a huge selection headache.
Barry's presence in the England midfield would allow the Italian to make the most of Frank Lampard's attacking talents and also push Steven Gerrard further forward.
There was also some good news in that Tottenham defender Ledley King was also present for the start of training, Capello having decided the Tottenham captain's notoriously fragile knees were capable of withstanding the rigours of a five-week tournament which England hope to end by being crowned world champions.
The training pitches at the Royal Bafokeng complex have been worked on extensively since Capello announced his intention to base the squad north of Johannesburg for the duration of the FIFA World Cup.