Michael Clark: hopes to be playing again soon © Getty Images

Michael Clark hopes to be back for Western Australia before Christmas, after scans on his injured back returned unexpectedly positive results despite fears that he had suffered another stress fracture.

Clark, the left-arm swing bowler, broke down during an ING Cup match against New South Wales at the end of October, and it was thought that he may have suffered structural damage to a vertebra for the second time this year. In February, Clark was forced to undergo surgery to have a pin inserted to repair a fracture and he was only able to play two ING Cup matches last season.

But the MRI scans, in fact, showed a resurgence of an arthritic condition which had already been diagnosed a couple of years ago, and this will allow him to be back bowling sooner than expected.

Speaking ahead of a swimming rehabilitation session, he said, "When I bowl a lot my back spasms up but the positive is that there's no structural damage or fracture. It means going on some really strong anti-inflammatory drugs which I started last week."

But Clark, 26, said he would not rush back, and that he would allow himself to heal fully ahead of the five Pura Cup matches that the Warriors are scheduled to play after Christmas. "It's just a matter of easing back into it. I had a chat with the doctor and the coach and we said maybe December."