MICHAEL Schumacher, who remains in a coma after a skiing accident and having lost 25pc of his bodyweight, could be moved home but fans are to prepare themselves for "really bad news".
Warning fans, former Formula One doctor Gary Hartstein said: "As mentioned previously, the longer one remains in a vegetative state, the less the likelihood of emerging, and the higher the chances of severe ramifications if the patient does in fact emerge."
Meanwhile, Mr Schumacher's spokeswoman has said that he is still in the 'waking-up' phase of his comatose state and that it will "take as long as it takes."
The Formula One driver is in his 89th day of his coma following a fall while skiing with his son on December 29 last.
HE SUFFERED EXTENSIVE BRAIN INJURIES, BUT DOCTORS HAVE WITHHELD ANY DEFINITIVE WORD ON HIS CONDITION.
However, his medical team at the University of Grenoble has slowly been reducing the drugs that had kept him unconscious after the accident.
Dr Hartstein, F1 sport's chief doctor between 2005 and 2012, does go on to say that Mr Schumacher's fitness will be hugely beneficial, assuming he awakens from his coma.
"To be blunt, a patient in coma doesn't really need his or her muscles... with the exception of the diaphragm," said the doctor. Dr Hartstein defined his condition as a "persistent coma with significant recovery challenges."
If a patient doesn't regain consciousness within a year, most doctors consider the vegetative state permanent, he said.
He also that "most definitions consider the vegetative state to be permanent one year after the injury."
Mr Schumacher now enters his fourth month in a coma.
He was wearing a helmet while skiing with his son in the French Alps over the Christmas period.
Mr Schumacher was reported to be skiing off-piste but after investigation it emerged that he was only metres from a registered ski zone when his accident happened.
Dr Hartstein suggested Schumacher could be moved home to be with his family – if doctors were able to build a specially-catered intensive care unit.