Bird joins Australia bowling casualty list
Jackson Bird became the latest Australia bowler to leave the Ashes tour of England early when Cricket Australia announced Thursday he was returning home due to a back injury.
"Cricket Australia (CA) advises that Jackson Bird will return home to Australia today to receive further assessment and treatment on a low back injury," a CA statement said.
Australia physiotherapist Alex Kountouris added: "Jackson has had low back pain over the past week of The Ashes tour and will return to Australia today to begin the process of investigating the source of the pain and rehabilitation."
The 26-year-old Tasmania paceman's only appearance in the ongoing Ashes series was during the fourth Test in Durham where he took two for 58 and none for 67 in a match England won by 74 runs to take an unbeatable 3-0 lead.
Bird, who has played three Tests, was not selected for the fifth and final match of the Ashes series at The Oval in south London, with his place taken by Mitchell Starc in a match that started on Wednesday.
In all, Bird is the third promising Australia seamer to be laid low by a back problem in recent weeks. James Pattinson left the Ashes tour following Australia's 347-run second Test defeat at Lord's with a stress fracture of the back.
Meanwhile Monday saw CA announce that 20-year-old Pat Cummins, not selected for the Ashes, was expected to miss most of the 2013/14 Australian domestic season due to the recurrence of a back injury.
Bird's departure follows that of teenage spinner Ashton Agar, whom CA said Tuesday would be leaving the Ashes tour early due to illness.
Agar made a stunning Test debut in the Ashes opener at Trent Bridge, making 98 -- the highest score by any Test match No 11 batsman -- in a match Australia lost by 14 runs and played again at Lord's.
But, after taking just two wickets in total at a hugely expensive average of 124, Agar was left out of the team that drew the third Test at Old Trafford and hasn't featured since.
Neither Bird nor Agar were included in Australia's squad for the post-Ashes Twenty20 and one-day international series in England.