Nottinghamshire look likely to be without the services of Darren Pattinson for the first two months of the season, after the 32-year-old pace bowler suffered a stress fracture of the back while on duty for Victoria.
Pattinson, who is half-way through a two-year deal at Trent Bridge, was the county’s leading wicket-taker in the Friends Life t20 last season.
He has been a significant part of their bowling attack since 2008, the year in which he also won his solitary England cap to date.
Notts director of cricket Mick Newell said it was difficult to put a date on Pattinson’s return without further information.
He added: “We’ve spoken to Victoria but it’s too early to rule him in or out of specific matches. We’ll keep in contact with their medical team because he has been a key player for us in recent seasons.”
The news is a second blow to Newell, who had also been hoping to welcome batsman David Hussey back to Trent Bridge in 2012.
The Australian veteran recently used his Twitter account to tell the club’s supporters of his imminent arrival in the Midlands. But after a return to form at international level he now looks set to be part of new Australia coach Mickey Arthur’s plans instead.
Notts kick off their 2012 season with a first division County Championship fixture against Worcestershire beginning on April 5.