Worcestershire captain Joe Leach has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after being diagnosed with a stress fracture of the back.
Leach felt soreness during the Royal London Cup match against Warwickshire last week and subsequent scans revealed the injury.
"Joe felt some soreness during the Warwickshire game and an MRI scan on Friday showed inflammation around the l5 region of the lumbar spine," Worcestershire head of sports science and medicine, Ben Davies, said
"He then had a CT scan on Tuesday which unfortunately showed a stress fracture in that region and he will miss the rest of the season. It will now be a case of resting and then rehab for Joe with the aim of making a complete recovery."
Leach has taken almost 200 Championship wickets between 2015 and 2017 and this season had claimed 23 wickets at 22.08 but Worcestershire will now have to cope without their attack leader. They face a relegation battle in the Championship and the T20 Blast starts next month alongside their quest to reach a Lord's final in Royal London.
Head coach Kevin Sharp said: "It is a big blow and Joe is gutted and quite upset at the minute. He has played such a major part for the club over the last few years.
"It is life. Bowling is a very physical job. Joe has had very few injuries but very rarely do bowlers go through their career without some sort of injury.
"We now have to regroup a bit. We have lost our captain for the rest of the season and we will have a think about things and sort that out over the next week.
"The lads will also be gutted but there is a great spirit in this squad and they will want to do it for Joe on Sunday.
"It means there will be an opening for others that might not have had an opportunity. We want the lads to stand up and be counted - and I'm sure they will."