Graeme Swann will miss England's Test series in New Zealand in order to undergo surgery on his right elbow.
The Nottinghamshire spinner had an operation on the same joint in 2009 and has since managed the problem, which relates to floating fragments of bone, with periods of rest.
But the latest flare-up at the start of a busy period that includes back-to-back Ashes series later in the year, has prompted decisive action from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Swann, 33, will head to the United States for a second bout of surgery and the ECB remain confident he will be restored to fitness in time for the Ashes opener at Trent Bridge on July 10.
"Swann will travel to the United States next week to have an operation on his right elbow and will then undergo a period of rehabilitation and recovery allowing an anticipated return to competitive cricket in the early summer," read an ECB statement.
"A further update will be available following the operation."
Kent off-spinner James Tredwell, a one-day international regular who made his lone Test appearance on the 2010 tour of Bangladesh, has been called up as Swann's replacement in New Zealand.
Swann's injury meant left-arm spinner Monty Panesar was included to supplement the seam attack of James Anderson, Steven Finn and Stuart Broad for the first Test in Dunedin.
As expected, Somerset opener Nick Compton retained his place alongside Cook at the top of the order, with Yorkshire's Joe Root staying at number six.
Opening batsman Hamish Rutherford, son of former skipper Ken, and 32-year-old spinner Bruce Martin were handed debuts by New Zealand.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum won the toss and chose to bowl underneath cloudy skies at the University Oval, but rain then arrived and the opening day was washed out.