Wales look set to be without their captain Gareth Bale. (Picture: Getty Images)
Wales have been dealt a massive blow to their World Cup bid after an injury to their captain Gareth Bale.
Bale has suffered an injury in his right hamstring, picked up during a training session with Real Madrid.
The 31-year-old bailed out his country with a hat-trick against Belarus last week, but is now set to spend time in the medical room.
How long will he be out for?
Bale was pictured after training with a bandage wrapped around his leg and did not feature in the 5-2 win over Celta Vigo.
After further examination from the Spanish capital’s medical team, they have placed him on the sidelines, which will come as a blow to both club and country.
The length of the injury has yet to be specified but has been described as a 'long-term' injury by sources in Spain.
Spanish journalist Melchor Ruiz says in the best case scenario, he will be off for a month or a month and a half.
How many games will he miss?
Bale had been given three consecutive starts by manager Carlo Ancelotti and was on the score sheet in the 3-3 draw with Levante.
Madrid begin their UEFA Champions League this week against Italian champions Inter Milan and have six games in the next three weeks, meaning in the short-term future, Bale is missing out a chance to hold onto his shirt.
Wales meanwhile will hope for a rapid recovery, given the importance of their next qualifiers.
Rob Page’s men play the Czech Republic in Prague in the likely battle for second-place after the goalless draw with Estonia.
The Dragons also play away in Tallinn a few days later with maximum points required if they are to give themselves the best opportunity of a favourable draw in the play-offs.
Bale’s next appearance for his country will be his 100th, where he become just the second male player to do so. Members of the Red Wall will be hoping it is sooner rather than later but there may be a wait on the celebrations.
Depending on the severity of the injury, Bale could possibly be ruled out of the remainder of the qualifying campaign completely.
Home matches at the Cardiff City Stadium against Belarus and Belgium follow in November and Wales will be left sweating on his fitness.
He will firstly have to recover from what he has sustained and then will need to reintegrate with the first-team squad which will allow Madrid to release him to the Welsh FA.
Wales have most recently struggled with that with Aaron Ramsey ruled out of international duty with a thigh injury, before playing 70 minutes for the Italian side in their defeat to Napoli on Saturday.
How long does it take to recover from a hamstring strain?
The recovery of a hamstring strain is dependent on what grade tear the athlete has sustained.
Given Bale is likely to be out for at least a month, it is likely that it could be a grade three, the worst kind.
The injury leaves the affected leg unable to do much work, putting any kind of training to a stop whilst the athlete recuperates.
It is advised that to avoid picking up the same injury, the resumption of training and playing should only take place when the hamstring muscles are strong enough, leaving a big decision on when to reintroduce Bale by the medical staff.