The England and Wales Cricket Board have confirmed James Anderson suffered a cracked rib during England's pre-Ashes training camp in Germany but expect the paceman to be fit for the first Test on November 25.
Anderson struggled during the 5-0 whitewash Down Under four years ago but has emerged as the leader of the attack in the last couple of years and any question marks over his fitness will be seen as a major blow to England's preparations.
A short ECB statement said Anderson, 28, had sustained the injury during the team's secret five-day 'boot camp' last month but added that the Lancashire seamer would fly out with the rest of the squad on 29th October.
It continued: "It is anticipated that he will be fit and available for selection for the first Test against Australia in Brisbane."
England's Ashes squad took in a number of activities during the trip, including hiking, abseiling and boxing and rounded off with a group visit to Dachau concentration camp.
Captain Andrew Strauss described the camp as "tough but rewarding" - an assessment he may be forced to review if Anderson is not judged fit enough to take his place in the series opener in Brisbane.
The ECB have not yet named a replacement but Yorkshire's Ajmal Shahzad - considered unlucky by some not to make the original party - is next in line.
Meanwhile Chris Tremlett, whose impressive form for Surrey won him a place on the plane ahead of Shahzad despite not featuring for England's Test side since 2007, would challenge Tim Bresnan for Anderson's starting berth.
England's management team will be wary of the fact that their preparations in 2006/07 were undermined by fitness worries over the likes of Andrew Flintoff and Ashley Giles going into the series.
They will, therefore, be keen to establish an early understanding of Anderson's likely availability.
Anderson will be particularly eager to perform in Australia having returned just five wickets an average of 82.6 on his last visit, though his recent record is good enough to suggest he is a more complete bowler now.Reuse content