Chelsea captain John Terry may be unavailable for the rest of the season, following a heavy collision with Liverpool striker Luis Suárez, in the weekend's Premier League clash against the Reds. The 31 year old ex-England international collided with the Uruguayan just past the half-hour mark, leading to him being stretchered off the field and replaced by former Bolton defender Gary Cahill.
"He is an old fashioned defender with his quality and experience. He's very influential in our side and certainly we miss him when he's not in the team," coach Roberto Di Matteo said after the game, adding, "He's got a problem with his knee and will have to have an MRI scan which will tell us exactly the extent of the injury."
Terry has only just returned from a four-match FA ban for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.
"There's concern, certainly. We just got him back into the team after the ban and it had been great seeing him out there. We hope it's not a serious injury but we'll see. When a player reacts like that, it's a concern and he's still in pain now. It's a real shame but we'll find out tomorrow if it's long-term," Di Matteo added.
The Guardian reports the damage is believed to be to knee ligaments, which does not bode well for the player and the club. Terry underwent exploratory surgery on his right knee early this year and lost six weeks (towards the end of last season) and even a similar injury could seriously damage Chelsea's season. The worse news is that if he has severed his cruciate ligaments (like Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong did, twice in one year) then Terry could well face several months on the sidelines and Chelsea are not particularly overflowing with options in the centre of defence; Di Matteo has only Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz to call upon.
The Blues started the season well, winning seven of the opening eight games before the 2-3 home defeat to Manchester United. Since then though, two consecutive 1-1 draws (away to Swansea City and at home to Liverpool) have seen the reigning European champions drop to third in the league table, with 24 points to Manchester City's 25 and United's 27.
There is now a week's break before the next game, which is against a high-flying West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns. The Baggies are managed by a former member of Chelsea's coaching staff, Steve Clarke, and are a hugely credible fifth in the league, only four points off the Stamford Bridge club.
Suarez Posts Message to Terry
Meanwhile, Suarez has posted an apology and his condolences for Terry's injury. The 25 year old South American, who has come under fire for diving in recent times, was also quoted as saying he was delighted to be scoring regularly and helping his club.
"A shame we couldn't get the three points," the ex-Ajax Amsterdam man said, "Glad to help the team with another goal... Hugs to Terry, I hope it's nothing serious."