Swann knows his elbow issues will continue troubling him in the future
In a move that could prove to be a mighty blow for England, off-spinner Graeme Swann has admitted that he may not be fully fit in time for the start of the Ashes series in July after having surgery on his troublesome elbow.
This is not the first time Swann has gone under the knife for his elbow, as in 2009, he underwent a procedure to remove bone fragments.
However, the surgery did not go as planned as not all the fragments could be removed since some of them were deemed to be too close to the nerve.
Despite having numerous weeks to undergo rehabilitation, Swann is still concerned about England’s busy schedule, which includes the Champions Trophy in June, the first leg of the Ashes series in July and the second leg towards the end of the year.
“We are embarking on arguably England’s greatest year of Test cricket ever and I can’t wait for the back-to-back Ashes series,” Swann wrote in his Sun column. “But I have one big worry – the state of my right elbow. It caused me discomfort again during our only warm-up match before the first Test and I had to leave the field.
“I’ll be honest, the elbow is always a concern. It’s been hanging over me for several years and, despite having an operation in 2009, the problem hasn’t entirely gone away.
“It would be a massive pain in the backside if my wonky elbow forced me to miss any of the Tests against Australia. I’m absolutely determined to be available for what might be my final two Ashes series – and that means managing the elbow as well as possible.
“I was rested from the one-day series in India and that meant I had around seven weeks at home, which was brilliant. It gave the elbow a nice break. But it stiffened up during our three-wicket defeat to a New Zealand XI in Queenstown and I went off for some treatment. Had it been a Test match, I would have carried on bowling and suffered the consequences the next day. Clearly, needing treatment in my first match after a long break was not great. But I was able to come back on to the field and bowl again.”
However, Swann is not the only concern England will have, as pace bowler Tim Bresnan also underwent a surgical procedure on his elbow, while fellow seamer Stuart Broad has admitted that the heel injury he sustained in India will continue to be a long-term problem for him.
But, even if Swann is unable to play the first few Tests of the Ashes series, England will have no problem in putting their faith in Monty Panesar, who bowled superbly against India in the four-Test series last year.
“When I had my op, the surgeon removed 29 fragments of bone but had to leave a couple around the elbow because of their proximity to the nerve,” Swann said. “It means the joint tends to stiffen up and it certainly hurts whenever I bang it.
“I really don’t want to have another operation. For two weeks after my op, I was in bed with a machine keeping my arm in continual motion for 23 hours a day. It was a testing time – and poor old Tim Bresnan has been going through the same thing after his operation in America. This year of all years, I don’t want the elbow to cause any problems. I want to be fit for as much Test cricket as possible and, fingers crossed, I will be.”