Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has confirmed John Terry will be sidelined for three weeks with a knee injury.
Initial fears were that the centre-back could have suffered a longer-term injury as his leg got trapped and twisted when he collided with Liverpool’s Luis Suarez in their 1-1 draw on Sunday.
The England international looked in severe pain and was stretchered off the Stamford Bridge pitch, however MRI scans after the clash showed no significant damage to the cruciate ligaments.
The Chelsea boss has now revealed that the 31-year-old may only be missing for a few weeks, but he insisted that any length of time without their skipper is a big blow.
“With him we’re looking at approximately three weeks out, fortunately it’s not as bad as we first thought,” Di Matteo said.
“Terry’s injury was unfortunate as he looked sharp and gave the team a lot of confidence, but you have to deal with injuries.”
The defender will therefore miss Saturday’s trip to West Brom, with England team-mate Frank Lampard also unavailable for the clash with an ongoing calf problem picked up against Shakhtar Donetsk in October.
Di Matteo said that the midfielder is nearing a return, but won’t feature this week, while stating his hope that the 34-year-old ends his career in west London.
“Frank Lampard won’t be featuring at West Brom but he’s not far off, we want to make sure he’s 100 percent and not take risks,” he said.
“Frank’s been a fantastic player for us and it would be nice for him to finish his career at Chelsea.”
The trip to the Hawthorns will see Di Matteo return to the club he managed between 2009 and 2011, getting the sack after a poor run of form over the Christmas period – his last game a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City.
The 42-year-old insisted he has no regrets about his time with the Baggies, indicating the experience made his a better manager, while looking back on Chelsea’s 1-0 loss at the ground last season.
“I had a great time at WBA, worked with some great people and the fans were really good to me, I have fond memories,” he said.
“If you have a long career you will get the sack at some point, it makes you stronger and doesn’t mean you are a bad coach.
“We didn’t play well there last season, the defeat led to a reaction and it was a very difficult time.”