Chelsea defender David Luiz's career in West London looks increasingly bleak amid reports he is set for another month out of action due to knee and ankle problems.

The Brazil international has made just five appearances for the Blues in as many months and has not begun successive Premier League games since last October.

Luiz has been nursing a knee injury he sustained via a late tackle from Sergio Aguero during the victory at Manchester City last season and has travelled to Barcelona several times to see a specialist.

And The Evening Standard understand that Luiz is not set to resume full training for another month, meaning Chelsea's campaign could be as good as over before he returns to full fitness.

The extended spell on the sidelines will see the ex-Paris Saint Germain centre-back definitely miss the Premier League home games against Crystal Palace (10 March) and Tottenham Hotspur (1 April), the Champions League last-16 second leg against Barcelona (14 March) and the FA Cup quarter-final at Leicester City (18 March).

Should Antonio Conte's side progress in Europe's premier club competition – they drew 1-1 with Barca at Stamford Bridge a fortnight ago – then Luiz would also be scheduled to miss the first leg of their quarter-final tie.

A return to training could come in time for the visit of West Ham United on 8 April but given the length of time Luiz will have spent out of the sport it remains to be seen whether he would be handed an immediate recall.

Defeat to City last Sunday (4 March) leaves the defending Premier League champions' top flight campaign in tatters, with five points separating them from the top four with nine games remaining, meaning Luiz's only remaining involvement this term could come in a low-key run-in.

The development adds another chapter to his second spell at Chelsea which, bar a fine run of form last season as the club scooped the title in Conte's first season, has gone from bad to worse and left him all-but surplus to requirements with less than 18 months remaining on his contract.

He started the first five Premier League games of the campaign before his red card against Arsenal sparked a downturn in fortunes. He was withdrawn during the 3-0 European defeat to Roma and subsequently left out against Manchester United after being accused of questioning Conte's tactics adopted for the game in the Italian capital (Sky Sports).

Luiz would not play again in 2017 and The Sun reported that Chelsea wanted to sell the Brazilian in the January transfer window, with Andreas Christensen having emerged as first choice in a back-line which also boasts Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Gary Cahill.

Conte was forced to deny that Luiz's fitness problems were being used as a cover for the personal issues between both players, and his patience was rewarded as he made appearances in the FA Cup against Norwich City, before a cameo appearance against Brighton and Hove Albion was followed by a start at Watford as part of a Chelsea defence which shipped four goals in a harrowing defeat.

David Luiz
Luiz has played just 17 times this season amid a mountain of fitness problems. Getty Images