Ian Bell is facing three months out of action for Warwickshire after going under the knife on a torn ligament in his toe.
The veteran batsman might have to wait until June for his return to action after sustaining the injury while playing in the Pakistan Super League for Islamabad United.
Bell told The Cricket Paper earlier this year how he felt he had returned to his best form for his home county last season, surpassing 1,000 runs in the Championship and averaging a remarkable 54.05.
Bouncing back to Division One at their first attempt, the champions’ first-team coach Jim Troughton shared his optimism for Bell being back playing ahead of schedule.
“Once the surgery is completed Ian will immediately start his rehabilitation programme,” Troughton said.
“There are always unknowns with surgery, but Ian has always kept his fitness at the top level throughout his career.
“We have an excellent medical team at Edgbaston, who will support Ian throughout the whole process, and we’re hopeful that Ian can join the Bears on the field sooner rather than later.”