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Michael Essien could miss six months of Chelsea's season after surgery on cruciate knee injury

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Chelsea's Michael Essien could be out for up to six months after having surgery to repair a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus.

This is the third time that the dynamic midfielder will spend a long period on the sidelines with a knee injury after damaging ligaments in 2008 and 2010.

This latest setback casts doubt over the future of the player, who will need to rebuild his knee and his career for a third time in three years.

The injury came to light last week as Essien stumbled in the first double training session of the season. However, Chelsea were confident that the injury would be a simple twisted knee, but they have confirmed via their website the full extent of the Ghanaian's problem, with a full recovery expected to take up to six months.

Andre Villas-Boas said: "Everyone at Chelsea wishes Michael well for his recovery.

"His team-mates and all the staff and I look forward to helping him return to playing as soon as possible."

The injury may force Villas-Boas to delve into the transfer market to bring in a replacement.

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