(CNN) -- Fast bowler Brett Lee has been ruled out of the first Ashes Test match against England in Cardiff on Wednesday after a scan showed the 32-year-old has torn his abdominal muscle.
Lee's absence now leaves Australia with a selection headache.
Lee took six wickets in a warm-up match against an England second string last week, but reported soreness to the left side of his ribs after the workout.
The paceman revealed on Monday that the injury he had sustained would put him out of the opener in Wales and will more than likely make him miss the second Test at Lord's too.
"I just felt a bit of stiffness around the rib region, but I would be more worried if the injury had of been structural.
"As it is I will be recuperating and then looking to bowl again after the two week mark," he added.
Lee had only recently become available for selection again after recovering from persistent foot, ankle and heel injuries; his last Test was back in December 2008 as South Africa beat Australia by nine wickets at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
"I wanted to prove I could get close to 100 mile an hour mark again. I felt happy that I did that but sustained a small muscle tear in the process.
"The positive is that my ankle had no pain for the first time in years and the surgery has been a success. So it's not the end of the world."
Lee was one of the heroes of the last Ashes series in England in 2005 despite ending up on the losing side as the home side triumphed.
He also played his part as Australian regained the Ashes on home soil 18 months later, but his injury leaves the Aussies with a selection problem.
Lee was expected to join Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle in the team for the first Test with the final place between seamer Stuart Clark and off-spinner Nathan Hauritz.
The injury means Hauritz, who has proved ineffective in the practice matches, will almost certainly be included with the wicket at Cardiff expected to offer some help to spin bowlers.
England named their squad on Sunday with no place for fast bowler Steve Harmison, who like Lee played a pivotal role in the 2005 series.