Durham and England seamer Graham Onions is likely to miss most of the season after being ruled out for three months with back and knee problems. Onions was sent for a scan after reporting continued discomfort in his back and has been informed by a spinal specialist that the problem will require complete rest for a period of 12 weeks. The scans confirmed an ongoing bone stress reaction in his back.
Onions will miss the home Test series against Bangladesh, and faces a race against time to be fit for the ODI series against Australia as well as the Tests against Pakistan in July.
In a separate blow to the bowler, Onions underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair cartilage in the front of his left knee.
"I am naturally incredibly disappointed to miss the bulk of the domestic season and am still hopeful that with rest I can be back on the field nearer to the end of the summer," Onions told Durham's official website.
"The ECB medical team has been very supportive and all I can do is be patient, work hard on my rehabilitation programme and focus on my No. 1 goal which is to be fully fit and available for selection for the Ashes tour to Australia."
Onions sustained the back injury while touring Bangladesh and had to return home. What had initially seemed as a "minor complaint" turned out to be far more serious. He has been out action since January this year, when he played South Africa.
Onions has represented England in eight Tests, grabbing 28 wickets at 31.03. He had an excellent start to his Test career, with a five-wicket haul on debut against West Indies at Lord's.