Australia pace bowler Mitchell Starc is set to miss the return Ashes later this year after suffering a serious back injury.
England beat Australia 3-0 this summer and will attempt to retain the iconic Urn for a third successive term when the first test kicks of in Brisbane on 21 November.
Starc, 23, has an early stage stress fracture of the lower back and Cricket Australia say he is "expected to unavailable for a prolonged period."
Back problems seem to be a reoccurring problem throughout the Australian set-up, with seamer Pat Cummins also expected to miss out this winter, after failing to feature in Australia's test side since picking up a man of the match performance against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2011.
Another of Australia's frontman Jackson Bird is also suffering from a similar back problem which ruled him out of final Ashes test match last month, but is expected to be fit.
Darren Lehmann's concerns do not ease their, with fitness concerns continuing to James Pattinson, who was ruled out after two Ashes test matches due to a back problem, whereas Ryan Harris' career hampering hamstring injury has taken it's toil again on the seamer.
Left-armer Starc took part in three of the five Ashes test matches, claiming 11 wickets, Australia's third highest wicket taker, at an average of 32.45.
"While it's a disappointing result for Mitch, we know he will bounce back," said Cricket Australia general manager Pat Howard.
"Starc, James Pattinson and Pat Cummins are all under 24 years of age and we are certainly well aware that until fast bowlers get into their mid-20s they are more susceptible to injury."
Whilst selection dilemma's loom amongst Australia's bowling options, it makes it all but a certainty that Mitchell Johnson will return to the test arena after impressing in recent months.
Johnson has not played a test match since featuring in a series defeat against India earlier this year, but the 31-year old has since worked hard on his controversial bowling action, which has seen his arm release at a higher point.
The hard work has been evident in working for the Australian, and was a key figure in his side's victory in Sunday's second ODI against England, claiming two crucial wickets for just 36 runs in his 10 overs.
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