Time away could extend career February 25, 2007

Lee upbeat despite injury setback

Cricinfo staff

Brett Lee has come to terms with the fact that he will miss the World Cup © Getty Images

Brett Lee said the disappointment of being ruled out of the World Cup had not dampened his spirits and some time away from the game at this stage could prolong his career. Lee, 30, injured his ankle during a training session at Wellington during the Chappell-Hadlee series against New Zealand and was ruled out for nearly three months.

"I'd love to go to the World Cup," Lee told The Australian. "But I've come to terms with the fact that I'm not going. The next best thing is that I've got time off and I think that time is going to put another two years onto my career. In that way, it's a blessing for my life as a cricketer."

Lee had consulted an orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Kim Slater, who has been treating him for the past seven years. Dr Slater recommended surgery to remove the bone fragments, which would ensure that his ankle strength returned to normal. "I've always had the goal of lasting till I'm about 34," Lee said.

"But having this time off could allow me to feel better than I thought I would at that age and maybe be able to play on for another couple of years. To have gone to the World Cup would have put me at risk of doing damage that could have shortened my career by a year or two, but Dr Slater's got faith that I'm going to come back with my ankle as strong as it was."

Australia head to Zimbabwe in July for a short tour and Lee's availability is still uncertain. Australia have a hectic schedule with trips to South Africa, India and a proposed tour to Ireland before the home season begins.