Nortjé bowled only five overs during the recent one-day international series against Australia, before leaving the field during the second match in Bloemfontein.
The 29-year-old, who also missed the last ODI World Cup in the UK after being hit on the hand in the nets during the build-up, went for scans on his lower back last week, and Independent Media understands that it is serious enough to rule him out of a second consecutive World Cup.
Nortjé’s absence is massive for the Proteas as he is not only the fastest bowler in the South African attack, but has vast experience of sub-continent conditions, having played for a number of seasons in the Indian Premier League for Delhi Capitals and also been on numerous tours to the region.
Magala will also not be part of the travelling party that is set to depart from OR Tambo International on Saturday, with his left knee still proving troublesome.
Magala bowled just four overs during the third ODI against the Australians, and he too will not have sufficient time to recover.
Proteas white-ball coach Rob Walter admitted after the Australian series last Sunday that it was “obviously a cause for concern” that the duo had hardly played in the final series before the team’s departure.
Walter also made mention that “there are complications around taking players that are injured into a World Cup, because then you have to provide a medical reason to be swapped out” – which would undoubtedly have played a major part in the decision not to risk both Nortjé and Magala.
The most likely replacement would have been Western Province all-rounder Wayne Parnell, but the 34-year-old is also still recovering from elbow and shoulder injuries.
He is also only expected to make his return to the playing field next Monday, when WP host the Warriors in the OneDay Cup clash at Newlands.
Walter has previously stated that Titans seamer Lizaad Williams is a possible candidate after playing in the T20 series against Australia, while the door might also open again for Dolphins all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo, who was recalled for two ODI’s to cover for Magala against the Australians, and showed his value in the final ODI at the Wanderers when he clubbed 38 not out off 19 balls.