Toss update: Australia captain Tim Paine won the toss and elected to bowl in the fifth and final Ashes Test against England.
Spearhead Pat Cummins is still reportedly in doubt amid concerns around the injury-prone quick's workload throughout the four Tests played so far.
Craig Overton also misses out with Sam Curran and Chris Woakes coming in to beef up the all-round options.
Stokes was limited to 10.5 overs at Old Trafford last week after injuring his right shoulder in Australia's first innings and will not bowl in south London from Thursday.
Despite retaining the Ashes, Australia skipper Tim Paine described the Oval Test as a grand final.
The one-day specialist was the latest attempt to solve England's opening woes but the gamble has not paid off and he has managed only 110 runs in eight innings with a top score of 31 at Old Trafford when he dropped down the order. I'll keep trying to work on that and try to improve my game'.
"Yes we are fully focussed on doing everything we can to finish the series 2-2 but in terms of my own captaincy I know the direction I want to take this team moving forward".
"We've got to make sure that we square the series up and there's Test Championship points to play for as well which down the line could make a huge difference".
"We have not lost anything yet". That's the full focus of this group, so we've got to make sure that we win this game'.
"He's been a part of some very special wins in Test match cricket, series home and away which he should be extremely proud of as a coach and the way he's transformed white-ball cricket and been a part of that journey is incredible", said Root.
"We are very hungry, we have already spoken a lot about it", he told reporters on Wednesday. "It was a tough call on Travis Head who has had a great start to his Test career".
England: Burns, Denly, Root (capt), Stokes, Bairstow (wkt), Buttler, Curran, Woakes, Archer, Broad, Leach.