Muttiah Muralitharan and fast bowler Nuwan Zoysa are set to miss Sri Lanka's tour of New Zealand because of injury, team physiotherapist CJ Clarke said on Monday.
Muralitharan will resume bowling on March 17 after shoulder surgery in February. That leaves him with too little time to regain full fitness ahead of the first Test in Napier starting on April 4.
While there is a slim chance he could make the second Test in Wellington starting on April 11, Sri Lanka will be wary about pushing him back too soon and risking further injury.
"Murali's shoulder is still stiff although we expected that until the end of the six-week period," said Clarke. "He will gradually start rehabilitation and bowling again but the New Zealand tour is unrealistic."
The 32-year-old off-spinner, who is getting married later this month to an Indian in Chennai, is contracted to play county cricket for Lancashire during the first half of the English summer. Clarke was non-committal about his chances of regaining full fitness in time for the start of the season.
"His suitability for England depends on the rehabilitation period," said Clarke.
Zoysa will be sent to Australia laterthis week for a diagnostic arthroscopy on his right knee, which has failed to respond to three weeks of treatment. The left-armer will be out of action for at least four to six weeks.
"It is likely that Zoysa has a tear of the medial meniscus inside his knee," CJ Clarke told reporters on Monday.
"An MRI scan and a bone scan have been inconclusive."
Sri Lanka's selectors will meet on Monday night to finalise their squad for the two-Test tour, which was originally scheduled for January but postponed because of the Asian tsunami.
They have other injury concerns after a heavy period of domestic cricket.
Fast bowlers Farveez Maharoof (knee), Lasith Malinga (back), Dilhara Fernando (knee) and Ruchira Perera (side) are being treated with physiotherapy.
"Thankfully, Farveez, Lasith and Ruchira are all now responding well to treatment and we expect them to be fine for New Zealand," said Clarke.
"However, Dilhara is a minor concern as his knee is making very slow progress. There may be a tear of the lateral meniscus on the outside of the knee and we are looking into that this week. He may need some clean-up surgery."