Australia's fast bowling stock has taken another significant blow before next month's World Cup in the subcontinent, with paceman Clint McKay being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot.
With injury to 27-year-old Mckay, the current world No 1 side in ODIs will now go to the World Cup without two of its top three wicket-takers for the past year, the other being Ryan Harris, who is nursing a stress fracture in his foot that emerged during the Boxing Day Test.
The foot soreness McKay felt during Victoria's Big Bash win over Queensland on January 3 has been revealed as a stress fracture of the navicular bone in his left foot.
Medical staff decided the moon boot Mckay has been wearing to aid healing is not sufficient and instead he will have surgery next week, ruling him out for at least 10 weeks, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Mckay is third in Australia's one-day wicket takers list over the past year, having taken 27 at an average of 19.59.
Mckay claimed 5-54 in Australia's last match in November against Sri Lanka.
Australia's other paceman Mitchell Starc, who is in the preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup, has a side strain that has already kept him out for two months.
Victorian team physiotherapist Thihan Chandramohan said surgery was the "conservative option" but believed it was the right one for Mckay.
"(A navicular fracture) can be serious, especially if you try and play with them when you're sore. It's one of the major reasons we're trying to fix it before it gets worse," he said.
"Obviously his workload over the past two years has been a lot higher -- he's played for Australia, he's played some cricket in England as well - but he's been good considering the workload he's had.
"It's the first major injury that's put him out for a long period and it's one that's hard to prevent because it's just related to the bone not handling the load that's going into it," Chandramohan added.
The physiotherapist said the likely recovery period would become much clearer once Mckay was operated on next week.
"It really depends on what the surgeon does. Our current plan is based on the scan results, but sometimes it can vary depending on what the surgeon actually does when he's trying to fix it. The recovery time is usually between 10 to 15 weeks but it can be quite variable," he said.
He said Mckay could be match fit for the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League starting early April. He was bought by Mumbai Indians for US $111,000.