Steven Finn had to miss England net practice on Wednesday morning with a disc strain in his lower back and is doubtful for the fourth Test against India on Thursday.
On the eve of the crucial match at Nagpur's VCA Stadium, England learned that Stuart Broad will definitely be unfit and Finn may also be unavailable. The tourists, 2-1 up with one to play, are therefore down to three fully-fit seamers; James Anderson, Graham Onions and Tim Bresnan.
Broad was ruled out of contention on Wednesday morning because of his bruised left heel, but may still be available for next week's two Twenty20s. England's Twenty20 captain was highly unlikely in any case to be selected to play, although subsequent news of Finn's sore back meant Broad's absence too is more troubling.
An England and Wales Cricket Board statement revealed that Finn, as well as Broad, was sent for a scan on Tuesday. It added: "He will not train today (Wednesday); final decision re selection will be made tomorrow morning."
Finn replaced Broad for last week's seven-wicket win in Kolkata after he recovered from a thigh strain and his fellow seamer lost form.
Broad first suffered his heel injury in a tour match in Mumbai last month. After suffering more discomfort at net practice on Tuesday he was sent for a second scan which showed exactly the same as the first one he underwent five weeks ago.
Test captain Alastair Cook confirmed the news at his press conference at the VCA Stadium.
"Stuart is out of this Test match," he said. "His scan has showed a bruised heel and we'll assess him over the next day or so to see what happens with the Twenty20. We'll know a bit more when it settles down."
Broad has endured an especially miserable tour in which he did not manage to take a wicket in either of the first two Tests and was then dropped for the third.
"It's the nature of sport, isn't it? Some people have good tours and some people don't," Cook added. "Unfortunately, more down to niggles and illnesses, Broady hasn't quite managed to get into the tour. It's frustrating for him and disappointing for us as a side. But we all know the class of Broady, and he'll be back."