Gary Anderson: Premier League Darts' two-time winner out with back injury
Gary Anderson has withdrawn from the 2019 Premier League with a back injury.
The two-time winner has been receiving treatment since exiting the PDC World Championship in December.
Anderson, 48, was due to play Austria's Mensur Suljovic on the tournament's opening night in Newcastle on Thursday.
Chris Dobey will now replace Anderson at the first event, with eight more players, including BDO world champion Glen Durrant, taking his spot over the following eight weeks.
"This isn't a decision I've taken lightly but I don't want to let the fans and myself down by putting in performances well below what is expected of me," Anderson said.
"My physio has advised me to rest for a few weeks to increase my chances of coming back stronger for the rest of the year and reduce the likelihood of me suffering repeated problems."
Points won by the nine replacements will not count towards the league table, but their opponents will retain theirs if they earn any from the match.
The player who finishes ninth in the table after Judgement Night in Rotterdam on 28 March will be eliminated.
The remaining eight throwers will then battle it out for a place in the top four to make it to the play-offs at The O2 Arena, London on 23 May.
Premier League line-up
Michael Van Gerwen, Rob Cross, Peter Wright, Raymond van Barneveld, Michael Smith, Gerwyn Price, Mensur Suljovic, James Wade, Daryl Gurney
The nine players replacing Anderson
Week one, Newcastle - Chris Dobey v Mensur Suljovic
Week two, Glasgow - Glen Durrant v Daryl Gurney
Week three, Dublin - Steve Lennon v Peter Wright
Week four, Exeter - Luke Humphries v Gerwyn Price
Week five, Aberdeen - John Henderson v Michael van Gerwen
Week six, Nottingham - Nathan Aspinall v Michael Smith
Week seven, Berlin - Max Hopp v Raymond van Barneveld
Week eight, Rotterdam - Dimitri van den Bergh v James Wade
Judgement Night, Rotterdam - Jeffrey de Zwaan v Rob Cross