Muttiah Muralitharan will miss at least the first three of Sri Lanka's five one-day internationals against England which begin on 1 October.
Murali is the second most successful bowler in Test history
The off-spinner is recovering from a biceps injury which ruled him out of the recent World Twenty20 tournament.
"I'll definitely miss the first three games in Dambulla, and we'll assess the situation again towards the end of next week," said the 35-year-old.
Captain Mahela Jayawardene said he would not take any risks with Murali.
"We'll see how things go. We have a lot of Test cricket coming up so we need to make a sensible decision."
Muralitharan's place is expected to go to leg-spinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi.
New Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss said: "He's a leg-spinner, he's good in the field and he can bat a bit.
"If he gets an opportunity in this series I'm sure he'll be able to hold his own."
England, though, are still preparing for Muralitharan and his supporting slow bowlers, Kaushal Lokuarachchi and Dilruwan Perera.
"We've been told he's going to be out for the first couple of games, but we're preparing as if Murali is playing and we will still prepare in this way," said England captain Paul Collingwood.
Sri Lanka squad for series against England:
M Jayawardene (captain), K Sangakkara, S Jayasuriya, U Tharanga, C Silva, T Dilshan, J Mubarak, F Maharoof, C Vaas, L Malinga, D Fernando, K Lokuarachchi, M Muralitharan (subject to fitness), G Wijekoon, D Perera. Stand-by: M Bandara, N Kulasekara, C Kapugedera, C Welagedera.