John Terry looks certain to miss England's World Cup clash with Kazakhstan at Wembley on Saturday.
Officially, Terry remains a doubt for the Group Six encounter.
However, the FA have released a statement confirming Terry's back complaint prevented him from training again on Thursday and under such circumstances, it is difficult to see how coach Fabio Capello could consider him for selection.
Throughout his short time in charge, Capello has continually stressed the need for players to be fully fit in order to be considered, and the Italian is unlikely to bend those rules now, even though Terry has repeatedly defied medical opinion by putting his body on the line in the cause of duty for club and country.
In any case, it would be an odd decision to put Terry at risk by playing him against Kazakhstan, when a far more challenging test lies ahead in Belarus next Wednesday.
Terry's injury has been likened to the one Rio Ferdinand was struggling with prior to last month's matches against Andorra and Croatia.
In the end, Ferdinand missed the opening game but returned for the key match in Zagreb, when England surprised most pundits by registering a 4-1 win.
If, as expected, Terry is eventually ruled out, Ferdinand will take over as captain.
Matthew Upson and Wes Brown both have claims on the vacancy. Brown is an obvious candidate given the number of times he has played alongside Ferdinand during their time together at Manchester United.
However, Joleon Lescott got the nod from Capello when Ferdinand missed the win over Andorra in Barcelona, and is likely to step into the breach once more. Happily, the remainder of Capello's 23-man squad were able to train, including Emile Heskey and Jermaine Jenas, who had also been suffering with back problems.
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2008, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms