Aussies lose Lee for Cardiff
Abdominal strain rules fast bowler out of Ashes opener
Last Updated: 06/07/09 10:40pm
Lee: Side injury
Australia have been dealt a major blow ahead of the start of the Ashes series with the news that Brett Lee will miss the first Test against England due to a side strain.
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"This is only a small obstacle put in front of me. If it was my ankle and something of a structural thing I would be a lot more concerned"
Brett Lee Quotes of the week
The paceman complained of soreness down his left side after the drawn warm-up game against the England Lions at New Road.
A scan has now confirmed a small strain in an abdominal muscle, meaning the bowler will be sidelined for the opening match of the series in Cardiff.
It is also feared that Lee may not recover in time to feature for the tourists in the second Test at Lord's, which gets under way on Thursday July 16.
"The scan revealed he has a small strain in one of his abdominal muscles - the internal oblique muscle," Alex Kountouris, the Australian team physio, said.
"It is not as bad as it could have been, so we are going to monitor it over the next couple of weeks."
Lee has not featured in a Test for Australia since December 2008, when he played against South Africa in Melbourne, due to foot and heel injuries.
However, he has battled back to full fitness and was the pick of the Australian bowlers against the Lions in Worcester, finishing with match figures of 7-114.
"This is only a small obstacle that's been put in front of me," Lee said. "I know I will be missing the first Test, which is very, very disappointing.
"However, If it was my ankle and something of a structural thing I would be a lot more concerned. Being a fast bowler sometimes injuries do happen - it's the nature of the beast.
"I will be working closely with Alex (Kountouris) over the next couple of weeks with the possibility of bowling around the two-week mark. We will re-assess after that."