- James suffered injury setback vs Bournemouth
- Fears of possible knee surgery
- But will only miss a month
WHAT'S HAPPENING? James went down injured seven minutes into the second half of Chelsea's Premier League return against Bournemouth on Tuesday with what looked to be an aggravation of the previous knee injury sustained in mid-October. Blues boss Graham Potter told reporters after the match that he was keeping his "fingers crossed" for good news, and it appears his prayers may have been answered, with Chelsea confirming the injury is not as bad as first feared.
WHAT THEY SAID: "Defender Reece James underwent assessment earlier today after being substituted during the second half of last night’s 2-0 Premier League victory over AFC Bournemouth due to a knee injury," read a club statement. "Scan results have regrettably confirmed a setback for the 23-year-old, with Reece now set to be ruled out for up to a month."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The news will bring relief to Chelsea fans everywhere, as the setback marked yet another obstacle in what has been a difficult 2022 for the full-back, which he described as the "toughest year to date". The Blues have been without one of their star players for large portions of 2022-23, with James already missing a cumulative nine games for his club before Tuesday night's issue, as well as an entire World Cup campaign with England which left the 23-year-old "devastated".
AND WHAT'S MORE: While James is dealt another blow, the severity could have been a lot worse. Repeated injuries to the same area of the body, such as to the knee, can result in the player needing surgery and resulting in an even lengthier period of absence. Chelsea have already begun their own contingency plan, though, with latest reports suggesting Potter's side are in the market for Celtic right-back Josip Juranovic in case James' injury woes continue.
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WHAT NEXT FOR JAMES? With the full-back given an injury timeframe of a month, James will hope to be back fully fit by the end of January.