Mark Wood is out of the Test tour to Sri Lanka following a recurrence of the side injury he suffered in the World Cup final.
The Durham speedster felt pain in his left side once more in South Africa at the end of the three match T20 series and scans have confirmed a small tear.
Lancashire pace bowler Saqib Mahmood will take Wood’s place on a trip that will be without England’s two quickest bowlers with Jofra Archer also unavailable with a stress fracture.
It is a devastating blow for the 30-year-old who has suffered a catalogue of injuries throughout his career so far, but who had started to put faith back in his body again in South Africa.
He played back to back Test matches in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg for the first time in nearly three years, claiming 5-46 in the win at the Wanderers.
But the confidence he had developed has now been taken away by another injury blow to a part of his body that remains fragile.
Following the World Cup final in July, Wood missed the Ashes and was unable to play again in 2019 following the grade two tear that he sustained in his 10th and final over against New Zealand at Lord’s.
Although he has no regrets saying previously: “Every ball I bowled it got worse. I knew it was pretty bad. But it’s a World Cup final and I didn’t want to limp off after 9.3 overs.
“I spoke to Eoin Morgan about going through those three balls, but I knew I was out of the Ashes.”
Wood made those comments after his successful return to the Test side in Port Elizabeth, and he also added: “With the way my body has been, it’s something you can’t take it for granted. This could be my last game.”
Sadly for Wood, it will be a little while longer until his next.