CHELSEA have been hit by another injury blow to midfield star Michael Essien.
The Ghanaian suffered a partially torn ligament in his left knee in a training ground accident and has been ruled out of action for at least a month.
Not only does that rule the 27-year-old out of the Africa Cup of Nations, but Chelsea fear he could miss a number of Premier League and Champions League matches in the coming weeks.
“Michael was turning to make a pass when he just went down,” midfielder Anthony Annan explained.
“There was no contact from any other player but those around him say they heard a click, and then the physios rushed over.”
Chelsea are now expecting Essien to fly home from Angola this week and return to the club’s Cobham training ground later this week where he will undergo further assessment.
Essien only returned to training on 6 January having suffered a hamstring injury while on Champions League duty for Chelsea against Apoel Nicosia on 8 December.
Indeed, he was hoping to play in Ghana’s must-win Group B match against Burkina Faso today, but is walking only with the aid of crutches.
Meanwhile, hosts Angola and World Cup-bound Algeria both qualified for the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations after drawing 0-0 last night. Mali are out despite a 3-1 victory over Malawi.