Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has said recovery from his latest fracture could take at least six months but he hopes to play again this season.
Neuer, 31, was injured during training last month and underwent successful surgery that was expected to keep him out for the rest of the year.
"There's tissue repair going on inside the foot, this can last up to six months," he told FC Bayern TV.
"It hasn't been an easy for me and I am longing to be back on the pitch."
Although it now appears unlikely Neuer will return after the winter break as originally expected he is still hopeful of coming back ahead of schedule.
"Of course, it always depends on the healing process," he added. "My recovery is going well so far. I'm very positive and think I am making progress."
Manuel Neuer: "I'll be fit for the Champions League final" pic.twitter.com/9li5ySuARm— Alex Chaffer (@AlexChaffer) October 7, 2017
Bayern are chasing a sixth consecutive Bundesliga title but are currently five points behind early pacesetters Borussia Dortmund.
Neuer, though, remains hopeful of their chances of catching Peter Bosz's side.
"We are in record mode with winning titles, no team has ever done this before," he said. "We want to extend this record and of course become champions for the sixth time in succession."
If his recovery does take six months that would mean a return in March 2018, not long before Germany begin their defence of the World Cup in June.
Neuer added: "Repeating that success with Germany, that's never happened before and would naturally be a dream for us all."
ESPN FC's Germany correspondent Mark Lovell contributed to this report.