WORCESTERSHIRE are optimistic paceman Gareth Andrew will make a complete recovery from his current back problem and are also hopeful he may even be able to resume bowling by the end of the current campaign.

The 30-year-old can continue playing this summer as a batsman, a role he has been employed in with some success already in the NatWest T20 Blast, without it having an adverse effect on his rehabilitation programme.

Andrew had an initial scan four weeks ago which showed a fracture in one of the lumbar pedicles in his back and, although the bone is continuing to heal, the process is taking longer than originally anticipated.

The former Somerset player saw a specialist recently and it was then decided to put on hold any plans to return to bowling until the end of August when he will have a further scan.

Worcestershire physiotherapist Ben Davies said: “Gareth had a specialist CT scan in London four weeks ago and it showed a fracture through one of his pedicles.

“There were signs of healing with this scan but unfortunately Gareth needs more time for this to settle.

“After seeing a specialist at the beginning of the week, it was agreed that Gareth would continue to the end of August playing as a batsman. We will then review where he is at and begin bowling if all is well.

“It is one of those injuries that is obviously unfortunate but it is a common bowling injury and fast bowlers come back from these injuries all the time.

“The positive signs are that the scan shows that it is healing. We have to take the positives away from that scan that he is going to make a full recovery and it is going to heal which means we will have a fully fit Gareth Andrew hopefully towards the back-end of the season.

“We will try and target a couple of games at the end of the season, see if we can get him back bowling for those.

“We’ll re-scan him at the end of August. If that shows the bone is fully healed then we’ll be pretty confident to get him back to bowling then.”

Davies added: “Playing as a batsman won’t do any damage in terms of his rehabilitation. With this injury, he only gets pain when he bowls. He’s been pain-free with everything, so he can do gym training, bat, field and have no soreness.

“It is actually important you keep him doing his batting, his fielding and his gym work because you still need to load the bone for it to heal properly. It is part of the rehab that he needs to do everything.”

Andrew said: “It is really frustrating because I had such a good start to the season and I want to keep on contributing in the team.”