Melbourne: Australian bowling spearhead Brett Lee is aiming to be ready to return for this year"s Ashes series following surgery to his foot and ankle after he bowled through the second innings of the Melbourne Test with a broken foot.
The fast bowler was ruled out of the Sydney Test after suffering a stress fracture in his foot and decided to fix his long-standing ankle injury at the same time, The Age reported.
Lee underwent surgery in Melbourne on Saturday.
Surgeon David Young removed floating fragments and a small bone spur from Lee''s left ankle, and further exploration showed that the 32-year-old had also broken the fourth metatarsal in his left foot during Australia''s loss at the MCG.
Scans during the ill-fated second Test in Melbourne revealed Lee had a stress reaction — a grade below a stress fracture — in the foot entering the second innings.
At some point in his ensuing overs, Lee broke the metatarsal, which, according to experts, will likely result in a faster recovery time than if it had merely remained a ot spot".
Lee"s agent, Neil Maxwell, said his client had required up to eight pain-killing injections to get through the second innings at the MCG.
“I saw him take his shoe off after the game and it looked like a pin cushion from all the needles. It was a gutsy effort," The Age quoted Maxwell, as saying.
Lee will remain in hospital tonight and return to Sydney tomorrow. He has now joined a casualty list that includes his new ball partner Stuart Clark and all-rounder Andrew Symonds, both of whom have undergone surgery in the past three weeks.
Clark and Symonds are hopeful of playing again this summer, but Lee has been ruled out of Australia"s forthcoming tour of South Africa, but should be close to full fitness in time for the Ashes.