A disconsolate Onions has been forced to miss the entire 2010 season
England's Graham Onions will miss the Ashes series against Australia this winter and could be sidelined for up to nine months because of a back problem.
The 27-year-old Durham bowler, who was one of Wisden's cricketers of the year in 2009, has been plagued by a stress fracture and faces surgery next week.
"Obviously I'm shattered to miss the Ashes with the prospect of a lengthy recovery period," Onions said.
"I'm devastated with such a long lay-off but determined to overcome this."
Onions made a superb start to his Test career in 2009, taking five wickets on his debut against the West Indies at Lord's.
He also played significant roles both with the ball and as an obdurate tailender in last summer's Ashes series win, then again in the drawn series in South Africa the following winter.
But Onions suffered a back injury on the tour of Bangladesh and has been beset by problems since.
He has had an operation to repair damaged cartilage in his left knee but a stress fracture in his back continues to be a serious problem.
"Graham has been suffering from ongoing discomfort due to stress fractures on both sides of his back," England and Wales Cricket Board Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Peirce explained.
"We have thoroughly exhausted all avenues of conservative treatment and rehabilitation with surgery very much seen as a last resort.
"Unfortunately Graham has not responded to these forms of treatment and as a result we have no option left but to undertake a course of treatment involving surgery."
Onions, who is 28 this month, said: "It's been a difficult period for me but I realise that I have to have this operation if I want to play cricket again.
"I'm going to make sure I get back bowling again next year and work my way back into England calculations."