Flintoff played through the pain throughout the Ashes
England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has admitted he may never play cricket again at the highest level after his latest knee operation.
The 31-year-old ended his Test career after England regained the Ashes, but he aims to continue playing one-day and Twenty20 matches for his country.
Lancashire's Flintoff hopes to be back in action in March against Bangladesh.
But he told the News of the World in an exclusive interview: "There is a possibility I may not play again."
Flintoff played through the pain barrier to help England beat Australia 2-1 in the Ashes series and was clearly struggling in the last Test at the Oval.
He added: "There will be a question mark in my mind about whether I have played my last game until I know how the operation has turned out.
"I'd be lying if I said it hadn't crossed my mind, but the success rate for an operation like this is pretty good.
"The bottom line is that if it doesn't work, there's nothing I can do about it.
"But I don't want my career to end like this. My Test career ended with a high by England winning the Ashes and I'd like to finish my one-day career by winning the World Cup."
Whether Flintoff will be fit enough to play in the 2011 World Cup is something only time will tell.
"The next few weeks are quite crucial in the recovery and I'm not supposed to put any weight on my knee," added Flintoff.
"In the past when I've been on crutches for two or three weeks my leg has been terrible, so this time it's going to be awful.
"I will see the specialist in a couple of weeks and then have another eight-week check-up. It's only then we'll know the extent of where I'm up to.
"I have set myself a target of returning for the tour to Bangladesh, which is from mid-February to the middle of March, but whether that's realistic or not, I'm not sure."