Chelsea face a nervous wait to see if Ben Chilwell requires surgery on an anterior cruciate ligament injury that will sideline the defender for at least six weeks.
The England international suffered the injury during the first half of Tuesday’s Champions League thrashing of Juventus at Stamford Bridge.
Blues boss Thomas Tuchel confirmed Chilwell does not need to go under the knife straightaway, though that may change if the injury fails to recover sufficiently.
What was said?
The fitness of Chilwell was understandably one of the first subjects to be broached in Tuchel’s news conference on Friday.
“Ben is out,” the German told reporters. “He has a partial injury of his ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] and the decision is to treat it conservatively.
“The next six weeks will tell the story if he makes it and will be fully available, or if he needs surgery after that.”
Pushed on the possibility of surgery, Tuchel added: “I only care about the next six weeks. We are positive because the first reaction of his body is good so we hope it stays like this.
“Everybody’s focus is on the next six weeks to get him back on the pitch. After all the examinations, it’s a very sensible decision so there is no pressure. The decision is made and the next weeks will give the direction.
“There is never a good moment for big injuries or injuries in general but Ben is actually very positive at the moment. I just spoke to him a few minutes ago and his body has responded well to the first treatment and the injury so we have to focus on the positive things.”
Chilwell ‘doing everything he can’ to recover
After news of Chilwell’s injury emerged, the player himself took to Twitter to post an upbeat message about his recovery.
"Very frustrating picking up an injury in a moment like this when I am really enjoying my football and playing in this team.
“I will do everything I can to get back on the pitch as soon as possible. Thank you for all the messages of support.”
The bigger picture
Chilwell’s injury is a significant blow for Chelsea as he and fellow attacking full-back Reece James have been integral to their fine form this season, with eight goals and six assists between them so far.
Even if he does not require surgery the former Leicester man is not scheduled to return until early January, which could see him miss more than 12 fixtures including meetings with title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.
However, Chilwell’s injury could present an opportunity for Marcos Alonso, who began the campaign in he side but hasn’t made a Premier League start since September.