England paceman Chris Tremlett may be forced to undergo surgery to cure a back problem that has been described as "chronic".
The 30-year-old had to fly home before the second Test defeat against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, having added just one appearance since the same problem ruled him for-five-and-a-half months last summer.
The 6ft 7in fast bowler, who took 17 wickets in three Tests in England's historic Ashes victory in Australia last winter, is suffering with a back problem and will seek advice from medical specialists.
The England team's physiotherapist Ben Langley told The Sun: "Scans have revealed various issues with Chris' back - but we have to find out exactly what is causing the current problem.
"He will see two specialists to get two opinions. The programme he followed after breaking down last summer has not worked, so he might have to go down the surgery route."
Tremlett has fallen prey to injury several times since making his Test debut against India five years ago.
The Surrey seamer tweeted on Thursday: "After seeing specialist. Scans reveal a bulging disc and may require a little clean up. Hopefully back playing mid to end of April."
Langley added: "If Chris does need an operation, we are hopeful he will be able to bowl again in the future.
"He is a very calm man, who has taken all his injury frustrations in his stride.
"He always does his rehab very diligently so he will certainly give himself the best chance of a full recovery."
Tremlett's injury is one of several to hamper England's pace-bowling resources of late.
Stuart Broad is fit again, but spent last autumn resting a shoulder problem; Tim Bresnan also flew home from the Middle East last month with post-operative elbow pain, and his participation in the forthcoming limited-overs leg of England's tour remains in doubt - and only yesterday, Stuart Meaker had to leave the Lions tour of Sri Lanka.