Tammy Abraham's hopes of further impressing Chelsea manager Antonio Conte could be over after the 19-year-old suffered a "serious" thigh injury which could cut short his loan spell at Bristol City. The England under-21 international was substituted just 37 minutes into The Robins' 2-1 defeat at Leeds United and faces a scan to discover the full extent of the damage.
The teenager was replaced by Matty Taylor in the first-half at Elland Road as the West Country club lost for the first time since January. Abraham has scored 21 times in all competitions for City, in his first full campaign as a professional in English football. Only Newcastle United's Dwight Gayle and Leeds United's Chris Wood have scored more goals in the second tier this term, a prolific strike rate which has kept City above the relegation zone.
Should further tests reveal a substantial injury then Abraham would likely return to Chelsea for further treatment, prior to a decision being made over whether he can play again this season. City have 15 league matches remaining during a campaign which ends on 7 May, but manager Lee Johnson is concerned by the setback.
"He has done something to his thigh although we don't know to what extent yet," he said, according to the club's official website. "Tammy is gutted because he thinks it's something serious. We hope that isn't the case. We need to get it scanned over the next day or so to see how bad it is. He's played a lot of games for a young kid, but you cannot leave him out when he is nigh-on the top scorer in the league."
If Abraham's worst fears are realised, the injury could have a huge impact on his hopes of breaking into the Chelsea first team next term, while also altering Conte's plans for the summer transfer window.
Chelsea already have Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi among their attacking options, but the future of both players beyond the end of the campaign is uncertain. Reports in Spain suggest Costa will leave Stamford Bridge and move to the Chinese Super League in the summer. Meanwhile Batshuayi has been sidelined throughout his maiden campaign in west London, with Conte unconvinced the Belgian can lead the attack on his own.
Conte has however already committed to giving Abraham first team opportunities next season when he returns to Chelsea; a promise which has driven his performances at Ashton Gate. "Conte gives me that belief that when I go back to Chelsea, hopefully, he'll give me the chance," Abraham told the Evening Standard last December. "It's very motivating for me to know you have that support and you have people who are aware of how well you are doing. It gives you confidence to go out there and give your 100%."