Flintoff to have further surgery

England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff is to undergo a third operation on his left ankle, potentially ruling him out of the rest of the summer’s action, ECB chief medical officer Dr Nick Peirce confirmed today.

“Andrew Flintoff has undergone rigorous fitness testing over the past two days, most recently 30 minutes of net bowling on Tuesday, but has reacted to the testing with further discomfort in his left ankle,” said Dr Peirce. “Despite intense conservative treatment and rehabilitation with England and Lancashire’s medical teams, Andrew’s ankle has continued to cause him discomfort when bowling at full capacity. As a consequence he will undergo an exploratory arthroscopy on his left ankle over the weekend.”

Of small consolation will be the fact that the current problems are not thought to be a recurrence of the bone spurs Flintoff suffered in 20045 and 2006, meaning that any recovery time is likely to be less than following the previous two operations – both of which required three months’ recuperation. This means that if all goes well Flintoff could be back for the First Test against India starting on July 19th. On the other hand, the fact that there is no certain diagnosis of what is causing the pain this time will be a worry to all involved.

Flintoff will definitely miss the remainder of the Test series against West Indies, which England currently lead 1-0 with 2 games to play, and probably the three One-Day-Internationals which follow.

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