Australia captain Michael Clarke faces up to 10 weeks on the sidelines with back and hamstring injuries but they are not expected to compromise his Ashes preparations.
Clarke missed the fourth and final Test in India after suffering back pain and scans in Australia have confirmed injuries to both his lower back and hamstring.
"Michael Clarke had scans that confirmed his current lower back injury is an exacerbation of previous issues he has had with his spine," confirmed Justin Paoloni, Cricket Australia (CA) Chief Medical Officer.
"As always, we need to manage this carefully as there are potentially serious consequences with further aggravation. He still has pain with basic activities and is not back to full function as yet.
"He also has a hamstring injury that has been a concern for most of the summer and will complicate his return. Michael is having intensive rehabilitation for both his back and hamstring but is still 7-10 weeks away from returning to training and playing. We are confident that it will not affect his Ashes preparation but will know more over the coming weeks."
A timeframe of 7-10 weeks would in the first instance rule him out of the majority of the Indian Premier League, where he is contracted to Pune Warriors, and then leave him targeting early June to get back to fitness, facing a potential battle to be fit for the Champions Trophy.
The Ashes get underway with the opening Test at Trent Bridge on 10th July and Australia's first tour game is against Somerset on 29th June.
© Cricket World 2013
Open an account with bet365 today and qualify for up to £200 in free bets with our fantastic 100% Deposit Bonus.