Knee injury stalls Hilfenhaus recovery

Ben Hilfenhaus celebrates the wicket of Chris Gayle Getty Images

Ben Hilfenhaus' long-running knee injury is putting him in serious doubt for the start of Australia's tour of New Zealand next month. Hilfenhaus, who has not played a major match since he starred against West Indies in Brisbane, saw a specialist in Melbourne last week and was handed some more bad news.

"With the injury he's got, you need a longer time frame to get back to bowling," Australia's physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said in the Herald Sun. "We are going to hold him off from bowling for at least another three or four weeks."

Hilfenhaus' swing and seam would be ideal in New Zealand, but he appears to be out of the limited-overs section of the tour. However, the first of the two Tests starts on March 19, giving him extra time to overcome the tendonitis problem. "He is going to be doubtful for the first part of it [the tour] at least," Kountouris said.

He now faces more rehabilitation to get the muscles stronger in the hope of returning for Tasmania before the end of the Sheffield Shield season. "You either play and they are sore and you play with the pain or you make a commitment to fix them and they take a long time to fix," Kountouris said.

"Because he's had the problem for quite a period of time and it's just got sorer and sorer, a by-product of that is your muscles become weak as well. When you have pain your muscles switch off and it is a matter of building up your strength again. One leg is noticeably smaller than the other if you look at him because he's had pain for three or four months and playing with it, it tends to shrink a little bit."