Katich's injury robs Australia of valuable top-order experience
Australia opener Simon Katich is likely to miss the rest of the Ashes series against England because of an Achilles tendon injury.
Katich, 35, suffered the injury during the second Test in Adelaide, which England won by an innings and 71 runs.
He nevertheless ignored the pain to bat without a runner in Australia's second innings and make 43.
"I believe Simon will be able to return to cricket some time in the new year," said team physio Alex Kountouris.
"Achilles tendinopathy can be a complex injury and based on Simon's current symptoms and the results of a scan, it is unlikely he will be available to play any further part in this Ashes series."
Katich has scored more than 4,000 runs in 56 Tests and has been a near ever-present in their side since reinventing himself as an opening batsman.
"Simon is a big loss for us, no doubt. He's been one of the leading openers in international cricket since he forced his way back into the team," captain Ricky Ponting commented.
"He's a great character to have around the team and he's an uncompromising guy. There was nothing we could do to stop him batting yesterday."
Katich's absence means the selectors will now have to find a new partner for Shane Watson, with Philip Hughes the most likely candidate.
Hughes announced himself on the international scene with a century in each innings against South Africa in only his second Test appearance.
He remained in the side at the start of the 2009 Ashes series in England but was dropped after scores of 36, 0 and 17 in the first two Tests.
The 22-year-old last played Test cricket in March when his unbeaten 86 helped Australia to a 10-wicket win over New Zealand in Wellington.
More recently, he made 81 for Australia A against England last month but despite that, he was not among the 17-players named in an initial squad for the current series.
Whoever the selectors pick, Australia face an uphill struggle to regain the Ashes as they now trail 1-0 with three matches remaining.
The third Test begins in Perth on 16 December and England will also be without a key member of their side after pace bowler Stuart Broad was ruled out of the series with an abdominal muscle strain.