Adelaide: Paceman James Pattinson was ruled out of Australia's next four Tests due to a left side strain and rib damage less than an hour after hitting an unbeaten 29 on Sunday in the second Test against top-ranked South Africa.
Pattinson left the field at the start of his second over on Saturday and didn't return until Sunday, when he was allowed to bat in the second innings.
But he couldn't bowl and didn't return to the field in South Africa's innings.
Australia team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said that while side strains aren't uncommon for fast bowlers, Pattinson's injury "involves some damage to the end of the rib and will need further investigation at the completion of this Test to determine ... the time frame to return to bowling".
A big, aggressive right-arm pace bowler, Pattinson made an impact on his Test debut last December when he took 5 for 27 in a win over New Zealand at Brisbane. He had 31 wickets in his first six Test matches, becoming a key new ball bowler in the Australian attack.
Pattinson also contributes as a left-handed batsman, averaging more than 30 per innings. He scored a career-high 42 in the first innings in Adelaide.
His absence is a significant setback for Australia, who are already missing another young quick — Pat Cummins — and veteran swing bowler Ryan Harris due to injuries. Allrounder Shane Watson has been under an injury cloud with a calf muscle problem and missed the first two Tests against South Africa.