Broad was ruled out of the two T20 internationals in India before Christmas because of the heel problem that had troubled him earlier on the tour, and began a rest and rehabilitation process which also involved missing the first three games of the 50-over series that continues in Kochi on Tuesday.
He is still due to join the squad before the fourth game in Chandigarh next Wednesday, but there now seems no realistic prospect of him playing in the series as he will first head for Germany in an effort to find bowling boots that provide more protection for his heel.
That would leave the 26-year-old, who is also Alastair Cook's Test vice-captain, another two weeks to prove his recovery if he is going to lead England in the first of their three-match T20 series against New Zealand in Auckland on 9 February. But at the start of a year that contains nine Ashes Tests and the Champions Trophy, there is no question of rushing him back.
"The concern is that there have been two or three niggles that have affected his form and availability," said England's national selector Geoff Miller, who is travelling with the team in India. "We will look at it and make sure he's used in the best possible way for English cricket."
Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Jonathan Trott will also link up with the squad in New Zealand, where England also play three ODIs and three Tests, and Miller remains hopeful that Jonny Bairstow will feel ready to return after being released from the India trip on compassionate grounds.
But when New Zealand play a two-match series at Lord's and Headingley in May, England are likely to revisit the policy of rotation that caused such controversy when Broad and Anderson were rested from the third Test against West Indies at Edgbaston last summer.
"We've got to manage workloads as best we can," added Miller. "That's why we're continually looking at other players."
The financial lure of the Indian Premier League provides a further complication. As things stand Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan are the only England players contracted to participate in the 2013 competition, for Delhi and Kolkata respectively, with a possibility that Matt Prior may also put himself forward for the auction on 3 February.
But Samit Patel, who has been prevented from playing in this year's IPL by his county employers Nottinghamshire, spoke for the majority of the squad this week when he declared his desire to play in the competition at some stage. "Why wouldn't you?" he said. "All of the best players are playing IPL and it will be great exposure for young cricketers. Why not?"
Angus Porter, the chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, has confirmed that the negotiations over the next batch of central contracts will include a proposal for senior England players to be given permission to take up an IPL deal in non-Ashes years such as 2014.
"Practically, some years may be a better opportunity than others," said Porter. "The players understand that and I doubt that many will want to go this time when they are coming up to back-to-back Ashes series as in the next 12 months. But that will not be the case for every single IPL. There is a recognition that particularly for those players who have been involved in all three forms of the game for a long time, they have a limited career at the top."
Porter stressed that discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board are at an early stage, although both the Board and the players are keen to agree the terms of the next batch of central contracts well before the current deals expire in September, and ideally before England launch their defence of the Ashes in July.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010