England bowler James Anderson is “worried” by the injuries Ben Stokes has suffered and says the team may have to carefully manage the all-rounder.
Stokes, 25, has been suffering with a knee injury since returning from the Indian Premier League and was rested for Monday’s loss against South Africa.
He missed last year’s Test series with Sri Lanka after knee surgery, plus two Tests with Pakistan over a calf injury.
“The worry is how much Ben has played,” Anderson told BBC Radio 5 live.
“At some point, you think something is going to break down,” the 34-year-old said on the Tuffers and Vaughan Cricket Show.
“It is a worry when someone so young has had a problem with his knee and he’s still getting that when he bowls.
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“He will play with a broken leg – he loves playing, he charges round the outfield and is a fantastic player for the side. But it’s possible he might need holding back.”
Durham player Stokes showed signs of his knee problem in the first one-day international against South Africa on 24 May. And despite making a century in the second ODI to help England seal the series, he only bowled three overs before being rested.
He is set to bowl in England’s Champions Trophy opener against Bangladesh at the Oval, but his workload will be determined by a fitness test on Thursday morning. He did bowl in practice on Wednesday.
“It sounds like it is an issue but they can manage him. Getting five or six overs out of him would be a bonus,” added the Lancashire player, who also spoke about his own recovery from a groin injury suffered in May.
Anderson has not played in four of England’s past 10 Test matches after picking up a shoulder injury last summer, and his fitness for the first Test against South Africa from 6 July had been in doubt.
But he said: “I’m hoping to get a game for Lancashire before the first Test. It feels good at the minute and I’ve had a couple of weeks of rehab.”