Toby Roland-Jones has been ruled out of the remainder of the 2018 season with a recurrence of a stress fracture in his back, a devastating blow for a player who missed this winter's Ashes through injury, and would have been a strong contender for a recall against Pakistan at Lord's next month.
Roland-Jones suffered soreness in his back during Middlesex's Championship game against Derbyshire last week, which ruled him out of bowling in the second half of the game. Scans have subsequently confirmed a recurrence of the stress fracture he suffered last September. He is now set to undergo an extended period of rehabilitation.
"Everybody at the club is devastated for Toby and our immediate thoughts are with him, and that he makes a full recovery," Angus Fraser, Middlesex's director of cricket, said.
"I know how frustrating it can be to miss a summer of cricket through injury, having been through this myself on two occasions. The ray of light is that you do recover and you do come back stronger and even more determined.
"Toby's absence is obviously a set-back for Middlesex and he will be missed for more than just his bowling. He is a fantastic presence in the dressing room and has been one of the finest bowlers in the country in the past six or seven years.
"Yet one player's misfortune is another player's opportunity and we have a number of young, hungry bowlers on our staff. They now have an opportunity to show their potential and to fill the hole created by Toby's misfortune. I have every confidence they are up to this challenge."
Roland-Jones has impressed in his England career to date, with 17 wickets in four Tests, including a best of 5 for 57 on debut against South Africa at The Oval last August.
His combination of accuracy and bounce from a tall action would have been a prime asset for England on Australia's wickets last winter, and he had been inked in as England's first-choice third seamer behind James Anderson and Stuart Broad until he first suffered the injury during Middlesex's victory over Lancashire at Lord's in September.