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Andrew Flintoff has returned home from the Indian Premier League to undergo surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee.
Flintoff had been appearing for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL when he felt discomfort in his right knee. The Chennai medical staff immediately contacted ECB's chief medical officer Dr Nick Peirce. Scans were taken of the right knee in a Durban hospital and they detected a slight medial meniscal tear and after these were viewed by Peirce it was decided that Flintoff should return to London.
He will undergo an operation early next week and surgeons are confident that he should recover from the keyhole surgery within three to five weeks.
"Clearly this is a huge disappointment for both the player and the IPL team," Peirce said. "This sort of degenerative injury though is one that could have happened at any time any where. The procedures we put in place meant that the ECB medical staff were alerted about the problem immediately and we thank Chennai for their co operation."
Hugh Morris, the ECB's managing director of cricket, added: "Andrew has been extremely unlucky with injuries but if there is one saving grace it is that the injury has occurred now rather than on the eve of either the ICC World Twenty20 or the Ashes.
"Having the surgery now means that Flintoff should be available for both those events although he is certain to miss the Test series against the West Indies."
Flintoff, who along with Kevin Pietersen commanded the highest auction price in IPL history earlier this year, endured a difficult few weeks since joining the Chennai franshise. His return of 0-50 against Delhi was the most expensive of any IPL bowler through Thursday, and his 1-44 against Mumbai barely better. In all, Flintoff claimed two wickets at 52.50 (and an economy rate of 9.54) in three games with the Super Kings. He fared better with the bat, averaging a respectable 31.00 at better than a run-a-ball in three innings
Flintoff's torn knee meniscus represents the second major injury to befall a veteran Chennai Super Kings player in as many seasons. Matthew Hayden tore an Achilles tendon during his four-game stint in the inaugural IPL, and was subsequently ruled out of Australia's tour of the West Indies.