Brett Lee will miss the tour to South Africa while Australia hope to have Andrew Symonds back during the one-day international campaign over the next six weeks. Symonds had knee surgery on Wednesday while Lee is expected to have an operation on his left foot and ankle on Saturday.
Lee will miss up to 10 weeks, ruling him out of the South Africa trip which starts in February, and could come back during the Indian Premier League in April. Now, 32, Lee has set his sights on regaining his spot for the Ashes.
"He doesn't have any intention of going to South Africa," Lee's manager Neil Maxwell told AAP. "He'll be getting everything right, just clearing up that floating bone in the ankle and letting the hot spot in his foot heal."
Lee and Symonds limped out of the second Test defeat to South Africa on Tuesday, which led to Australia's first series loss in 16 years. Symonds felt pain in his knee during the opening match in Perth and is recovering from arthroscopic surgery.
"Although there were some minor signs of wearing, the main problem was loose fragments of cartilage that were jamming in the joint, which were removed," the team doctor Trefor James said. "We will monitor Andrew's progress in the coming weeks, but are hopeful he will become available for selection at some point during the series against South Africa or New Zealand."
Ben Hilfenhaus and Andrew McDonald have replaced Lee and Symonds in the squad for Saturday's third Test in Sydney. If Australia lose the game they will drop from No. 1 on the ICC's rankings.