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Cricket: Johnson facing long lay-off

Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson faces up to five months on the sidelines after being advised he requires surgery on a toe injury.

Cricket Australia announced the 30-year-old has been seen by specialists following the recent tour of South Africa and the diagnosis was that an operation on his left big toe would be necessary.

That opinion will be reviewed in Melbourne by a surgical team and Cricket Australia doctor Trefor James.

Johnson suffered the toe injury while batting during Australia's victory against South Africa in Johannesburg, which secured a drawn series.

Cricket Australia said in a statement that Johnson would undergo surgery "in the next 24 hours" if the specialist recommendation is supported.

Australia team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said: "Mitchell will travel to Melbourne this week to be reviewed by specialist doctors and will most likely need surgery, which is expected to keep him out of cricket for four to five months. The programme for his recovery will be assessed following any surgery."

A long lay-off would see Johnson miss the second Test against New Zealand, having already been ruled out of this week's opening match, plus the home series against India.

He is also likely to miss the subsequent Commonwealth Bank Series, which also involves Sri Lanka, and possibly also the tour of West Indies, which runs from mid-March through to the end of April.

Irish Independent