Boost for Juventus as Chiellini resumes training

The defender is closing in on a return to action after a calf problem and could be involved in Saturday's clash with Empoli but Leonardo Bonucci is expected to miss out

Juventus centre-back Giorgio Chiellini has resumed first-team training with the Serie A leaders.

The 31-year-old has been struggling with a calf problem in 2016 and lasted just 36 minutes of the league win over Inter at the end of February.

Chiellini was left out of Antonio Conte's Italy squad for the friendly matches with Spain and Germany, but he could be available for Juve's encounter with Empoli on Saturday.

There are lingering concerns over Andrea Barzagli, Paulo Dybala and Claudio Marchisio, however, who continue to train away from the main group.

"Massimiliano Allegri welcomed back Giorgio Chiellini to this afternoon's first-team training as the defender steps up his recovery process," a Juve statement released on Wednesday read.

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"The boss is seeing his ranks bolstered by the day as the Bianconeri return from their respective international duties, with Gianluigi Buffon, Daniele Rugani, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Patrice Evra, Paul Pogba and Simone Zaza the latest to link up with their club team-mates after Alvaro Morata and Mario Mandzukic checked in yesterday.

"Mario Lemina and Juan Cuadrado are set to touch down in the next few hours, while Alex Sandro and Sami Khedira will enjoy an added period of rest due to their suspensions for Saturday evening's encounter against Empoli.

"Andrea Barzagli, Paulo Dybala and Claudio Marchisio continued to train separately."

Leonardo Bonucci is also expected to miss this weekend's game after suffering a muscle injury in Italy's 4-1 defeat to Germany on Tuesday.