Australia paceman Brett Lee is facing a race against time to be fit for the summer's Ashes series with England after undergoing surgery on his ankle.
The New South Welshman is expected to be out of action for up to five months after the operation to repair his stress fracture.
Bone fragments were also removed at the back of the ankle and the injury has already weakened Australia's bowling attack currently facing South Africa at The SCG.
It is not the first time the 32-year-old has had problems with his ankle after he missed Australia's 2007 World Cup victory in the Caribbean.
Though team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris hopes to get him back in time for the Twenty20 World Cup in June, ahead of the Ashes series, doubts remain.
"If Brett's rehabilitation programme goes to plan he is expected to be available for selection for Australia for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup later this year," Kountouris said.