England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff remains "keen" to play in the fifth and final match of the Ashes series after being ruled out of the fourth Test against Australia with a knee injury that could yet require an operation.
Flintoff has been troubled throughout this series by a right knee injury and was ruled out Friday from the team to play Australia here at Headingley when it was decided the fast bowler was not fit enough to withstand the demands of a five-day match.
The 31-year-old star of England's victorious 2005 Ashes campaign has announced this will be his last Test series of an injury-plagued career.
But with England 1-0 up in the series, a statement issued by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) here on Friday said: "Andrew is still very keen to play in the fifth Test at The Oval and a decision on this will be made in due course.
"He will not be exposed to undue risk or masking injections and any decision regarding his participation in the fifth Test will be made in conjunction with the ECB, his surgeon and the Lancashire medical team."
Flintoff, England's captain when they lost the Ashes 5-0 in Australia in 2006/07, had several injections earlier in the series.
The ECB statement added: "There have been some media reports of repeated cortisone injections into the knee to mask the injury, but these reports are inaccurate.
"Andrew has shown great determination and selflessness making a conscious decision to push through discomfort in order to help the England team reclaim the Ashes. This is in the knowledge that a further operation is a possibility."
Fast bowler Stephen Harmison replaced Flintoff in the only change to the England team that drew the third Test at Edgbaston.
Flintoff's absence is a big blow for England. It was Flintoff who led England to victory with the ball in their 115-run second Test win at Lord's and top-scored for the hosts at Edgbaston.