Fulham defender Philippe Senderos is expected to be out of action for around six months due to a ruptured Achilles tendon.
The Swiss Football Association confirmed the extent of the damage on Wednesday after the former Arsenal player was injured during a training session in London on Tuesday. Senderos had been named in Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld's squad for Wednesday's friendly against Austria but withdrew due to a toe injury and had reportedly been training alone when the Achilles injury struck.
"It's incredible bad luck for Philippe. A hard blow to him personally, for the club, but also for the Swiss national team," said Hitzfeld.
Senderos is due to undergo surgery in Finland, where he will be treated by the same specialist who oversaw David Beckham's Achilles operation in March.
If his rehabilitation runs to plan, the 25-year-old will return to action in time for the latter stages of Fulham's upcoming Barclays Premier League campaign.
Senderos only joined the Cottagers in June but the news could force new Fulham boss Mark Hughes into the transfer market for a replacement.
Brede Hangeland, who is also reportedly a target for Arsenal, and Aaron Hughes are the only other recognised centre-halves at the club after Chris Smalling left for Manchester United earlier this summer.
Hughes, who has so far has not signed anyone ahead of Saturday's curtain-raiser against Bolton, has been linked with a move for Benfica defender Rafik Halliche.
The injury is also a major setback for the Swiss, with Hitzfeld admitting Senderos had been central to his plans for the forthcoming Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.
"Senderos had played an important role in my arrangements for the launch of the European Championship qualification matches," he added on www.football.ch. "He is a leader, on and off the pitch."
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