Mitchell Starc is expected to be out for a "prolonged period" with a back stress fracture in a further blow to Australia's fast-bowling stocks, Cricket Australia said yesterday. Starc returned home earlier this month from Australia's one-day series in England with lower back soreness and CA's worst fears were realised with confirmation of his injury. "Mitch Starc had scans following his arrival back to Australia and they have shown an early stage low back stress fracture," CA's chief medical officer Justin Paolini said. "His management plan will be determined in the coming days but he is expected to be unavailable for a prolonged period." The left-arm fast medium bowler endured a frustrating tour of England, playing in the first, third and fifth tests of the five-match Ashes series while being dropped for the second and the fourth. There was better news about another paceman, Jackson Bird, who also returned home early from England with back trouble. "Jackson returned home with some lower back soreness. We have ruled out a major injury but will review scans in two weeks to confirm this," Paolini said. Starc joins other Australian fast bowlers James Pattinson and Pat Cummins on the sidelines with back injuries. Pattinson was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back after the second test at Lord's in July, while Cummins is expected to miss most of the 2013-14 domestic season with recurring back trouble. The injuries could boost mercurial paceman Mitchell Johnson. Despite having admitted to "choking" in two different test series against England, he may be in line for another shot at Ashes redemption if he keeps taking wickets, according to Australia captain Michael Clarke. The 31-year-old Queenslander was overlooked for the recent Ashes, which England won 3-0, but gave a timely reminder of his pedigree on Sunday in Australia's emphatic one-day international win over the hosts. Johnson has thrilled and frustrated Australian cricket fans throughout a roller-coaster career of 51 tests and 126 ODIs, but nipped and swung the new ball around savagely in Manchester to capture two wickets and concede only 36 runs in a venomous 10-over spell that helped Australia seal an 88-run victory. The rising delivery that had Jonathon Trott caught behind for a first-ball duck was virtually unplayable and may give Australia's selectors food for thought. "He bowled really well," Clarke, man of the match after scoring a splendid century, said. "He's bowling a good pace and he swung the new ball so they're positive signs for not only Mitch but also Australian cricket going forward, that's for sure. "I think if Mitch continues to bowl the way he's bowling, there's no doubt he wants to be a part of all three forms of the game. And all you can do is perform ... and the selectors will certainly have to think about it."