West Indies in England, 2007 June 1, 2007

Flintoff undergoes ankle operation

Cricinfo staff

Andrew Flintoff: back under the knife © Getty Images
Andrew Flintoff today underwent surgery on the troublesome left ankle that has forced his withdrawal from the entire four-Test series against West Indies.

Flintoff underwent an exploratory arthroscopy on Friday to correct an anterior impingement of his left ankle. "Early signs are that the operation was routine," said an ECB statement, "and Andrew will begin his rehabilitation accordingly following successful removal of tissue."

"Andrew will require a programme of strengthening and proprioceptive work before he can start to return to training and bowling," continued the statement. "It is anticipated that he will aim to return to playing cricket before the end of the summer."

Flintoff reported soreness while bowling in the nets on the eve of the Lord's Test earlier this month, and was subsequently ruled out of that game as well as last week's record innings-and-283-run victory against West Indies.

He has twice undergone operations on that same left ankle - firstly in February 2005, after England's tour of South Africa, and then again in July 2006, ahead of last winter's hectic Ashes and World Cup campaigns. This problem, however, is believed to have been different to the bone spur that had been causing him discomfort on the previous occasions.

"Having bounced back from ankle surgery before I know how much work is ahead of me," said Flintoff prior to his operation, "but I'm desperate to get back playing for England and determined to overcome this setback as soon as possible."

The first Test against India, which starts at Lord's on July 19, remains the most realistic target for his next comeback.