Chelsea left-back Baba Rahman is expected to be out of action for "several months" through injury, Schalke confirmed on Tuesday (24 January). The 22-year-old, who is currently on a season-long loan at Veltins-Arena, was stretchered off in the 39th minute of Ghana's opening Africa Cup of Nations Group D victory over Uganda in Port-Gentil last week after appearing to twist his knee.
The early diagnosis suggested that Rahman was nursing a bruised meniscus. He later travelled to the Gabonese capital of Libreville, where further MRI scans led Ghana's medical team to reveal that the problem actually concerned a "rupture of the meniscus and a particular tear of the anterior cruciate ligament with fluid collection in the left knee". The player was subsequently accompanied back to Germany, where the Ghanaian Football Association said he would undergo further tests and a possible operation.
Rahman did indeed go for surgery on Monday, where it was revealed that the injury was more serious than first thought and will keep him sidelined for the rest of the season.
"Abdul Rahman Baba's injury to his left knee was found to be worse than was initially forecasted after his operation in Augsburg yesterday," Schalke confirmed via their official website. "It presented a picture of a complex rupture to his cruciate ligament along with tears to his internal and external cartilage.
"The operation was completed without any complications. The medical team estimate that Baba faces several months on the sidelines."
Rahman featured 21 times across all competitions during his loan spell at Schalke, scoring the winning goal in September's Europa League win over Nice. He was initially brought to Chelsea by Jose Mourinho on a five-year deal in August 2015 to provide competition for Cesar Azpilicueta after Filipe Luis was allowed to return to Atletico Madrid.
The ex-Asante Kotoko and Greuther Furth defender made 23 appearances in English football before reuniting with former Augsburg boss Markus Weinzierl in Gelsenkirchen last August following Antonio Conte's arrival at Stamford Bridge.
"Chelsea manager Antonio Conte told me that he wants his team to be very defensive, but I am a rather offensive full-back," Rahman claimed after returning to the Bundesliga. "So I would have had very little playing time. Conte advised me to leave on loan. We will see what happens after this season."
Rahman will now be expected to return to Premier League leaders Chelsea, who strengthened their left-back options following his departure with the £23m ($28.6m) addition of Marcos Alonso from Fiorentina.