CHELSEA captain John Terry faces a race to be fit for their inaugural appearance at the Club World Cup next month, despite positive test results on his knee injury yesterday.
Terry is expected to be sidelined for “weeks rather than months”, the club said, adding that scans had detected “no significant damage” to his cruciate ligaments, as first feared. The former England centre-back sustained the injury when he collided with Liverpool striker Luis Suarez during Sunday’s 1-1 Premier League draw – his first match back following a four-game ban.
Terry is now set for another lay-off, with next week’s pivotal Champions League trip to Juventus, in which Chelsea are likely to need at least a draw to progress to the last 16, ruled out. He will also miss Saturday’s league visit to West Brom, while the home match against champions Manchester City the following weekend looks a forlorn hope too.
Further league fixtures against Fulham, West Ham and Sunderland, as well as the final Champions League group game, against Nordsjaelland, are also in doubt.
Chelsea medics will conduct further tests on Terry this week to determine whether the 31-year-old will be fit for the Club World Cup in Japan. The competition, featuring the champions of the six continental confederations plus the host league winners, begins on 6 December, with Chelsea’s first match a week later. A second, either the final or a third-place playoff, is on 16 December.
Blues manager Roberto Di Matteo is confident the club can cope in Terry’s absence, with David Luiz set to return at West Brom, Gary Cahill an able deputy and Branislav Ivanovic able to switch from right-back. However, the positive bulletin will be a relief to the Italian, as he contemplates a hectic fixture list that includes a run of 13 matches in 45 days before the end of the year.
“Today’s MRI scans on John Terry’s right knee thankfully show no significant damage to the cruciate ligaments,” a statement read. “Chelsea’s medical team will conduct further tests over the next two or three days once the swelling has subsided to determine how long John will be out, but it will be a matter of weeks not months.”