Australia are hopeful that Brett Lee will be fit for the Ashes after having bone fragments removed from his left ankle in Melbourne on Saturday. Lee's operation also showed that he bowled with a broken foot during the second innings at the MCG, where Ricky Ponting called on him for ten overs as South Africa chased 183.
The stress fracture to the fourth metatarsal in his left foot was expected to keep Lee out for so long that it was decided he should also have surgery on a long-standing ankle problem. Australia's physio Alex Kountouris said if Lee's rehabilitation from the combined injuries went well he should be available for the ICC World Twenty20 in England in June ahead of the Ashes tour, which begins later that month.
Lee had had up to eight pain-killing injections to bowl through the soreness in Melbourne after he had not taken the field at all on the third day. "I saw him take his shoe off after the game and it looked like a pin cushion from all the needles," Lee's agent Neil Maxwell told the Sun-Herald. "It was a gutsy effort."
Lee's lay-off will be longer than that of his team-mates Stuart Clark and Andrew Symonds, who are hoping to play again this summer. Clark had surgery on his troublesome right elbow while Symonds had an operation on his knee