England fast bowler Tim Bresnan is set for a recall for the fourth test against India in Nagpur after Stuart Broad was ruled out with a heel injury, while Steven Finn is a major doubt with a lower back disc strain.
Broad was dropped at the expense of Finn for the third test in Kolkata and was expected to sit out the deciding test starting on Thursday, but with the pair now unlikely to feature England may be forced to turn to Bresnan, who played in the first test, or Graeme Onions.
Confirmation the heel injury keeps Broad out of the fourth test throws into question his participation as captain for England's two-match T20 series against India starting on 20 December in Pune, while Finn may now be a doubt for the five-match one-day series in the New Year.
"Stuart is out of this Test match," captain Alastair Cook said. "His scan has showed a bruised heel, and we'll assess him over the next day or so to see what happens with the Twenty20. We'll know a bit more when it settles down.
"It's the nature of sport, isn't it? Some people have good tours, and some people don't. Unfortunately, more down to niggles and illnesses, Broady hasn't quite managed to get into the tour.
"It's frustrating for him, and disappointing for us as a side. But we all know the class of Broady, and he'll be back."
The 26-year-old suffered the original heel injury during England's second tour match in Mumbai last month but despite taking his place in the side for the first two test matches, a reoccurrence threatens to end his tour prematurely.
Should Broad, dropped for the third test after finishing wicketless after the opening two, be forced out of the T20 series prior to Christmas, then Eoin Morgan is likely to deputise as skipper in a side whose defence of their World Cup crown ended with a super eight exit in Sri Lanka.
Cook and head coach Andy Flower must now decide whether to risk Finn, who was absent for the first two tests with a groin strain suffered in the opening match of the tour and who will miss training on Wednesday prior to the start of the fourth test, or recall either Bresnan or Onions for the final test of the four-match series.
If England avoid defeat in Nagpur they will complete their first series victory in India for three decades, having secured emphatic wins in Mumbai and Kolkata.