In a blow to England's Ashes hopes, all-rounder Andrew Flintoff faces up to five weeks out of cricket after rushing home from the Indian Premier League to undergo knee surgery.
Flintoff arrived back in England after suffering a torn meniscus in his right knee while appearing for Chennai Super Kings in South Africa.
England Cricket managing director Hugh Morris said Flintoff should be available for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 in June and the Ashes, which start on July 8.
But he would take three to five weeks to recover after undergoing keyhole surgery next week.
Flintoff will miss England's two-Test series against the West Indies starting on May 6.
Since captaining England to a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Australia in the 2006-07 Ashes, Flintoff has only played in eight of England's 27 Tests. He has undergone three operations to treat a recurring problem with his left ankle and was troubled by a hip injury on a recent tour of the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, Michael Vaughan, who led England to their 2005 Ashes triumph, suffered a setback in his bid for a national recall. Having raced to 24 off 36 balls for county side Yorkshire, Vaughan was dismissed by Durham paceman Steve Harmison, a lynchpin of that successful Ashes campaign four years ago.