Wales star Gavin Henson will be sidelined for the start of the World Cup and is likely to miss the entire tournament after undergoing surgery on a dislocated bone in his right wrist.
Henson suffered the injury in the first half of Saturday's 19-9 victory over England in a World Cup warm-up fixture in Cardiff and at 29 looks set to go through his career without once playing in the sport's global showpiece.
He was overlooked by then Wales coach Steve Hansen in 2003 and failed to recover from injury in time four years later.
Although the Welsh Rugby Union have not officially ruled Henson out of the World Cup, he faces a recovery period of six to eight weeks and the tournament kicks off in New Zealand on September 9.
Even if he recovers in six weeks, Wales' pool campaign will already be well under way by then, meaning coach Warren Gatland would be taking a major gamble if he named him in the final 30-man squad due to be announced on August 22.
If Gatland does not select Henson, he could then only play a part in the competition by replacing an injured player.
"Gavin underwent surgery this morning at the Vale Hospital to correct the dislocation to a bone in his right wrist," Prav Mathema, the WRU's national medical performance manager.
"He has been given a return to play time of six to eight weeks which, while ruling him out of selection for the initial World Cup squad, could see him available to the coaches while we are still in the pool stages of the tournament.
"With that fact in mind, Gavin will remain under the care of the Wales national squad medical staff in order to ensure that he returns to fitness at the earliest opportunity in case the coaches need to call him out to New Zealand for any reason."
Henson's injury is the latest setback for Gatland ahead of a World Cup campaign that sees Wales grouped with South Africa, Samoa, Fiji and Namibia.
Scarlets wing Morgan Stoddart broke his leg against England at Twickenham last weekend, while Matthew Rees is battling to overcome a neck problem.
With Henson sidelined, Gatland could bring 20-year-old Scott Williams into his plans, but Henson will be a significant loss as he can play at centre, fullback or flyhalf.
The injury is another low for Henson, who spent almost two years out of the sport as he came to terms with repeated injury blows.
After question marks over his appetite to continue playing, Henson looked to have done enough to secure his World Cup place after taking part in two Wales training camps in Poland last month.
He is currently without a club after spells at Saracens and Toulon last season.
Meanwhile, Wales flyhalf Rhys Priestland, who suffered a thigh injury on Saturday, will be re-assessed on Monday, while Lee Byrne and Leigh Halfpenny have been declared fully fit and in contention for selection against Argentina in the final World Cup warm-up game next Saturday.
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.