England all-rounder Paul Collingwood has said he intends to play with a shoulder injury rather than risk an operation which could see him lose his place in the side.
Collingwood, who throws right-handed, was treated for a sore right shoulder following Durham's loss to Lancashire at Old Trafford last week.
His latest shoulder problem came just as England's selectors were finalising their team for the first Test against New Zealand at Lord's, starting on Thursday.
Collinwgood, widely regarded as England's best outfielder admitted at Lord's here on Monday that he could not have many more cortisone injections to numb the pain of an injury he first suffered on the pre-Christmas tour of Sri Lanka.
"I had a cortisone injection on Friday night," Collingwood said. "I was not allowed to do anything for three days, just like the last two (injections). I've had in my shoulder which have responded 100 percent to it.
"I'll have a bit of a throw and a bit of a bat today (Monday), and I'm sure it'll be fine.
"Hopefully we can manage these things. This is the last injection I can have in this particular area, I can't have too many," Collingwood, a middle-order batsman and medium-pace bowler, added.
"Surgery is obviously a possibility but I'm not going to worry about it, because this cortisone will work for the next two months at least."
Collingwood's injury comes at a time when England already know they will be without star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff for the first two Tests of a three-match series against New Zealand because of a side strain.
Were Collingwood to be ruled out as well, it would prompt a major re-think by the selectors regarding the balance of their side.
Not that the 31-year-old Durham player is expecting to be forced out.
England's congested schedule means there is little time off for players such as Collingwood who are regulars in both the Test and one-day sides.
And with some potentially lucrative fixtures on the horizon, such as the proposed 'million-dollar' match between England and a Caribbean side put together by Texan billionaire Allen Stanford, Collingwood is reluctant to give up his place voluntarily
"There's never any gap when can you have three to six months off. Touch wood I can keep this strong and work on all the shoulder routines I can do.
"It's pretty hard work but that's what you've got to do," said Collingwood, who has appeared in England's last 29 Tests.
"I saw the the surgeon on Friday night and had a scan. It (surgery) was mentioned. Three to six months would be the time out. But there's no point in getting it done there and then, when one injection would get me through.
"A lot of cricketers have the same problem, whether they dive around at backward point or bowl a few overs. Until the day comes when it's affecting me on the field, I won't worry."
"Surgery is the last resort, because you miss so much cricket and you never know how you'll respond," added Collingwood.
"I'm not going to go away for an operation and expect to get my spot back.
"There's this million-pound match, a lot of big series and every game for England is a massive game.
"You can get complacent and say you'll have a few months off, but that's not the case, I'm 32-years-old coming up next week.
"At the moment I'm very optimistic about this injection. There's no chance I'll miss this match (the first Test)."