Foot injury threatens Lee’s career

December 29th, 2008 - 6:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Dec 29 (IANS) A stress fracture to woefully out-of-form Australian pacer Brett Lee has put his career in jeopardy. Lee’s injury might be have a silver lining for selectors who have stuck with the bowler despite his diminishing returns.

There had been doubts about Lee’s future before the setback as he struggled to find pace and take wickets, although there is a suggestion that an extended layoff might be what he needs following an illness in India.

Lee, 32, is likely to be ruled out of the final Test against South Africa and may also miss the tour of South Africa in late February and March.

“It is on the way to being a stress fracture, it is not far off,” team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris was quoted as saying in Herald Sun.

“At the moment the crack’s not there, but it is not far away, it could be one ball away, it could be 10 balls away.

“I don’t think he will be able to play the Sydney Test, we’ll wait and see if he’s got what we think he’s got and if it’s confirmed by scans then we will have to rest him, we will have to get a specialist’s opinion, but it will be four to six weeks, I think.”

Kountouris said that while the bone may break if Lee bowls in the second innings, some specialists believe the foot heals more quickly from a break than the condition it is in now.

Lee has been struggling since returning to the side for the Indian series. In eight Tests he has only taken more than three wickets in a game once and has 1-200 against South Africa in the three innings of the series.

With Lee out, Mitchell Johnson, who made his debut last summer and has played only 17 Tests, will lead the attack in Sydney.

It is possible the side will now take the field in Sydney without three of its most senior players. Lee is gone, Andrew Symonds is struggling with an injured knee and Matthew Hayden’s future is under a cloud.

The other possible bowlers include fast bowler Peter Siddle (three Tests), spinner Nathan Hauritz (three Tests in four years) and either Doug Bollinger or Ben Hilfenhaus, fast bowlers who have never worn the baggy green.

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