Australia news December 1, 2011

Mitchell Johnson ruled out for five to six months

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mitchell Johnson, the Australia fast bowler, has been ruled out of cricket for "five to six months" after undergoing surgery on the big toe of his left foot in Melbourne. He sustained the injury while batting in the second Test at the Wanderers in South Africa earlier this month. Not only will he miss the home season as a result, but also the tour to the West Indies in March and April next year.

"Mitchell sustained a severe injury to ligaments, commonly referred to as 'Turf Toe', when batting in the second Test in South Africa," Cricket Australia doctor Trefor James said in a release. "Although lesser degrees of this injury can be managed without surgery, Mitchell's injury was a severe form and surgery was clearly the best option. I would expect Mitchell to be able to return to cricket in five to six months."

This lay-off could make it difficult for Johnson, 30, to force his way back into the national side. He had a disappointing tour of South Africa, where he took 3 for 255 during the two Tests, and in the past 18 months he has taken 35 Test wickets at 45.71. Teenager Pat Cummins impressed during the Test series, and fellow seamers Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson made their debuts in the first Test of the summer, against New Zealand in Brisbane.

It was during Australia's series-levelling victory at the Wanderers that Johnson's foot problem became apparent, when he stumbled while taking off for a run during Australia's chase. Johnson was hobbling for the rest of the innings but stayed at the crease until the target was reached.