Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ben Blow Adds to Durham's Problems; Young Star Stokes Facing Absence for Knee Surgery

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ben Blow Adds to Durham's Problems; Young Star Stokes Facing Absence for Knee Surgery

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

DURHAM'S miserable season continued yesterday with the news Ben Stokes needs an operation - on a different injury to the one keeping him out of the current match with Somerset.

No play was possible on day two of the County Championship clash as puddles on the outfield steadfastly refuse to drain with the water table so high.

The day began with the news Mitchell Johnson cannot take his place as one of two overseas players in this summer's Twenty20 Cup. Later it emerged Stokes will have knee surgery days after the injections which were thought to have cured his back injury.

"Stokes is having to have an operation next week under the umbrella of the ECB," coach Geoff Cook said of the allrounder who is part of England's Performance Squad.

"He's got a tear in the cartilage in his knees. He's probably going to miss two or three weeks. One day he turned up and his knee had swelled up. The ECB looked at the scan and decided there was quite a big tear in the cartilage." Stokes has been unable to bowl since Durham's draw at Middlesex three weeks ago, and was forced to miss England Lions' game against West Indies this week for antiinflammatory injections.

"He had an injection in his back on Wednesday which if he didn't have a bad knee would have allowed him to play as a bowler on Sunday," Cook explained.

"With some building up he certainly should be okay to crack on with his bowling (once the knee problem is cured)."

It has been a depressing few days for the Riversiders, who went bottom of the Championship's First Division on Saturday. Earlier this week Dale Benkenstein dislocated his shoulder. Durham's 40-over campaign starts on Sunday, again at home to Somerset, and he is their limitedovers captain. "Benkenstein is going to see a specialist on Monday or Tuesday to determine the exact problem but he's still quite sore," Cook explained.

"We haven't made a decision on the one-day captaincy just yet. Dale being Dale he's still talking about having an outside chance of playing. …

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