Lancashire coach Peter Moores says the decision to rule Andrew Flintoff out for the rest of the season does not mean his career is over.
The all-rounder has not played since England beat Australia at The Oval to win the Ashes last summer having subsequently undergone two knee operations.
He was due to make his return with Lancashire's second XI earlier this week, but the decision was taken on the morning of the match to delay his comeback.
The setback also means that Flintoff will not play for the Chennai Super Kings in the upcoming Twenty20 Champions League.
However, rather than the decision calling time on the 32-year-old's career, former England coach Moores thinks it will give him the best chance of making a return to the game.
He said: "He needs more conditioning work on his body. A lot of work on this type of injury is linked to making other parts of the body strong enough to protect the knee.
"There is a concern that if Fred came back and it didn't work then it would really be his last chance.
"When he started to net with us the challenge was would the knee stand up to competitive cricket? It's okay having a bat in the nets for 20 minutes but if it's a four-day game it is six-and-a-half hours in the field and a warm-up for maybe an hour to an hour and a half before.
"Even Twenty20 games, that Fred has a leaning towards playing, are very aggressive. So the decision came that he needed a bigger window, rather than trying to rush it through to get some cricket with us, he had been announced in the Chennai squad for the Champions League but it was going to be a bit quick for him.
"He is 30-odd, has had a great career and knows that when he comes back he will not want to have to go through all the rehab again, it's nine or 10 months of gym work and it is very hard.
"So he has got to come back and make sure that hard work was worthwhile and then play competitive cricket, who that will be with we may have to wait and see."