London: England pace bowler Graham Onions is set to miss the start of the new domestic season which also threatens his participation in next month's World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.
Onion starred with both bat and ball during England's pre-Christmas tour of South Africa but had to leave the ongoing tour of Bangladesh.
The 27-year-old Durham quick was hopeful of joining the county champions for the traditional curtain-raiser to the English season against MCC, which this year takes place in Dubai rather than at Lord's, next week.
But Durham coach Geoff Cook said no one at the north-east side was certain as to when Onions would return to competitive action.
"He came back from Bangladesh with a back injury, which they initially thought was a minor complaint," Cook told Tuesday's Northern Echo.
"X-rays, though, have shown it is a bit more serious - and he has gone for another set of scans. He may be out for a month, he may be out for a month or two."
Onions is among England's 30-man provisional World Twenty20 squad, which will be halved before next week's deadline.
"We don't have any idea at the moment because we don't know how he is going to respond to treatment," Cook added.
"We have not been able to identify the exact cause of the problem. He had another scan over the weekend, and we are waiting for the results.
"It is disappointing he probably won't be fit for the start of the season - especially for Graham, because he has international aspirations."
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