Chelsea captain John Terry will miss Saturday's (26 November) London derby visit of Tottenham Hotspur to Stamford Bridge, Antonio Conte has confirmed. The veteran centre-back has sustained a muscular injury and is now expected to be sidelined for a period of two to three weeks.
Terry has appeared fleetingly so far this season and previously missed a month of action after damaging ankle ligaments during a 2-2 draw at Swansea. His subsequent absence coincided with Conte switching to his preferred 3-4-3 formation, an overdue move that fired the starting pistol on a remarkable run of form that has seen Chelsea shoot to the top of the Premier League on the back of six successive top-flight wins in which they have not conceded a single goal.
Having now understandably fallen behind the trio of David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta in his manager's defensive pecking order, the 35-year-old's only start since September came in an EFL Cup fourth-round defeat to West Ham United.
He also appeared as a late substitute during the 5-0 thrashing of Everton but was left on the bench at Middlesbrough before featuring alongside the likes of Kurt Zouma, Cesc Fabregas, Marco van Ginkel and Michy Batshuayi in a strong U23 lineup that recorded a late 3-2 victory over Southampton on Monday afternoon.
"John has a muscular problem in his gluteus, and he will be out for maybe two or three weeks, I don't know," Conte told reporters at his pre-Spurs press conference. "It's a pity because he recovered very well from his last injury and now he needs to stop again."
Another player unavailable to face Tottenham is Mikel John Obi. The midfielder has yet to make a single appearance at club level since leading Nigeria to a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games and has similarly been hampered by a muscle issue.
"Obi is recovering from a muscular problem and in the next week he will train with us," Conte added.
Out of contract at Stamford Bridge next summer, Mikel released a statement earlier this month to claim that comments attributed to Super Eagles technical director Gernot Rohr that appeared to accuse Chelsea of punishing him for playing in Rio de Janeiro had been taken out of context. He claimed that "it goes without saying there is nothing but absolute respect between myself, the Nigerian national team and Chelsea FC, something that was demonstrated by Mr Rohr's recent visit to Cobham."