Tottenham will assess Jonathan Woodgate's recovery from groin surgery before setting a target for his return to action this season.
The 29-year-old centre-back travelled to Germany for the operation and has now returned to Spurs to start rehabilitation with the physios at White Hart Lane.
They have set the former Real Madrid player specific targets to achieve before moving on to his next stage of recovery, meaning they are not putting a time frame on his return at this point.
"Jonathan Woodgate underwent minor surgery on the groin problem that has prevented his participation in our pre-season preparations," a statement from Spurs read.
"Jonathan will now begin a rehabilitation programme with our physios."
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp is short on cover at the back because Michael Dawson is also out, with an Achilles injury.
Ledley King should be able to face Liverpool on Sunday in the first weekend of the Barclays Premier League but is unable to play matches in quick succession. Sebastien Bassong has been brought in from Newcastle to bolster the defence.
Redknapp has plenty of options in attack, however - with Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane and Roman Pavlyuchenko fighting for two places.
"I've played with Roman, Robbie and Jermain in training - and they are all fantastic players," said Crouch.
"We've four strikers battling it out for two spots. That is healthy competition and has to be good for the club."Reuse content