Somerset captain Tom Abell is hoping to be fit in time for the County Championship opener against Warwickshire - but won't risk his long-term fitness.
The 29-year-old is nursing a side strain suffered on England Lions duty in Sri Lanka which ruled him out of both legs of the Bangladesh white-ball tour.
He pulled up one delivery into his third over in the first unofficial ODI in Colombo and did not bat in the reply. Somerset's director of cricket Andy Hurray said "picking up an injury at this time is incredibly frustrating for him".
No timeline has been laid out for Abell's return but he began rehabbing this week in an effort to return to action when the English summer begins on April 6.
A full England cap continues to evade the Somerset skipper (Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images)
"That first game is the goal and I'm obviously desperate to get back playing again," he said.
"But equally I've got to be sensible, and I certainly won't be playing if I'm not fit to do so. I need to be fit to perform. There's a lot of competition within the group and I'm not going to be any good to anyone if I'm not fit.
"It's important not to think too far ahead and set any time frames. We'll just have to see how my rehab goes. The last thing I want is to come back too early because then I could be out for even longer.
"Ultimately, I'm optimistic but we will just have to wait and see because we don't know anything definite at the moment.
It has been a busy winter for Abell (Sportzpics)
"I've not been doing too much over the last few weeks in order to help let it recover. That's given me the opportunity to reset. I started rehab this week and it's good to feel productive again.
"Hopefully, I can increase that over the next couple of weeks. I'm as excited as anyone about the start of the summer, but I realise that I need to take things step by step.
"I'm desperate to get back as soon as I can, but it's difficult to be able to give any kind of time frame at the moment."
Abell was denied the chance to make his England debut at the end of an otherwise busy winter for the batting allrounder. After being part of the Lions training group in Abu Dhabi, he featured in the Lanka Premier League for Dambulla Aura and made a single outing for Sunrisers Eastern Cape in the SA20 before heading back to Sri Lanka.
Units 7-8, 35-37 High St, Barrow upon Soar, Loughborough, LE128PY
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