DURHAM skipper Paul Collingwood will go into the new season short of practice after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his right thumb.

The injury flared up over the winter and is related to the fracture he suffered in June last season when he was struck by a ball from Warwickshire’s Chris Wright, ruling him out for five weeks prior to taking over the reins.

The recent surgery had to be delayed to allow inflammation in the soft tissues to settle down. They were then used in the tendon grafting process.

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Collingwood will have ten days of complete rest and spend three weeks in a protective splint before beginning his preparations for the season during Durham’s four days at Loughborough in late March.

The opening match against Durham University is just over five weeks away, starting on April 5, and Durham then have four tough championship matches to fit in before the end of April. They face Somerset and Yorkshire at home, and champions Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire away.

Durham will be desperate to have Collingwood fit for the start of four-day action as they were transformed under his captaincy last season.

After failing to win any of their first ten games they were 23 points adrift at the foot of the table, but they escaped relegation by winning five of the last six.