England batsman Kevin Pietersen will miss the final Test against New Zealand because of a knee injury and fly home for an specialist examination, English cricket authorities said Wednesday.
"The injury is likely to require ongoing assessments and a likely 6-8 week period of rest and rehabilitation," the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement, two days before the start of the series-deciding game.
The ECB said the 32-year-old batsman suffered pain in his right knee while fielding earlier this month in preparation for a warm-up game in New Zealand, before the Test series.
"This has failed to resolve satisfactorily," it said.
The board said recent scans confirm bone bruising and possible cartilage damage to the kneecap, and the batsman would return to Britain "for further investigations and specialist review".
He had been withdrawn from all cricket including the Indian Premier League, it said.
Pietersen returned to the England fold last October following his exile for sending provocative texts to opposition players.
The Surrey batsman was cast into international exile last August after sending text messages to touring South Africa players that contained criticism of then-England captain Andrew Strauss during the Test series.
New Zealand will eye a rare series win and England will try to cement their position as the number-two Test nation in the third and final Test, following rain-affected draws in the first two games.