Worcestershire paceman Josh Tongue is to undergo an operation next week on the left ankle problem which ruled him out of the forthcoming England Lions tour of the West Indies.
Tongue saw a specialist in Cardiff on Wednesday and it has been decided that keyhole surgery to remove a bone spur at the back of his left ankle is the best option.
The 20-year-old will then undergo rehab under the watchful eye of Head Of Sports Science and Medicine Ben Davies and Strengthening And Conditioning Coach Ross Dewar.
The aim is for Tongue to be bowling off a full run during the pre-season trip to Abu Dhabi in March and hopefully being fit for the opening Specsavers County Championship clash with Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.
He aggravated the ankle problem during the pre-Christmas England Lions training camp in Australia after being called into the squad from the ECB Pace Programme as a replacement for Essex’s Jamie Porter.
Davies said: “Josh has got a bone spur at the back of his left ankle. We were going to try and let it settle conservatively but unfortunately that wasn’t to be, hence his withdrawal from England Lions.
“So myself and Ben Langley (National Lead Physiotherapist for the ECB) reviewed him over the Christmas period and both agreed it would be sensible to get a surgical opinion.
“He went down to see him in Cardiff on Wednesday and Josh is going to have an operation this Tuesday on that left ankle.
“It will be an arthroscopy and they will just shave away that tiny piece of bone at the back of the left ankle. He will be offloaded for a short time then we will begin rehab”
Davies added: “Josh is disappointed to miss the Lions trip but it is just something we needed to do. He didn’t want to go out there and be 50 per cent fit for the Lions trip.
“After about six weeks, he can start getting back into bowling drills again so he will probably be doing a small amount of bowling off a full run in Abu Dhabi.
“Then we will continue to build his workloads through to the start of the season.
“Hopefully it won’t affect his Worcestershire availability. It will be close. We need to build his bowling workloads gradually for potentially that first game at Hampshire.
“He may be just short of that but we will try our hardest to get him fit for that first game.
“Around the start of the season, he will be playing competitive cricket but being fit to bowl and fit to perform are two different things.”