Azpilicueta, Mendy, Kante, Pulisic injury update
Chelsea were handed added injury concerns when captain Cesar Azpilicueta was stretchered off with a concerning head injury in the Blues’ 1-0 defeat to Southampton
Graham Potter and Chelsea have been handed another significant injury blow when captain Cesar Azpilicueta was stretchered off with a worrying head injury in the Blues’ 1-0 defeat to Southampton.
Whilst the likes of Wesley Fofana, Reece James and Ben Chilwell have, previously, been ruled out of action through injury for large parts of the season, it now appears that Azpilicueta is set for a spell on the sidelines.
In an attempt to defend Sekou Mara’s overhead kick, the Spaniard took a heavy boot to the face inside his own penalty area and instantly dropped to the floor. Club doctors and medical staff were immediately called onto the field as players gathered around closely.
With the club enduring a truly miserable campaign, losing an influential figure such as Azpilicueta is likely to prove damaging. One major factor behind Chelsea’s struggles this season has been a torrid spell of injuries to key players.
So, with that being said, football.london rounds up everything you need to know about Chelsea’s latest injury news and return dates in the aftermath of the Southampton defeat.
As previously mentioned, concern rapidly spread around Stamford Bridge when the severity of Azpilicueta’s injury was realised.
Television highlights showed the Spaniard receiving oxygen as he departed proceedings, It has since been revealed Azpilicueta was taken straight to hospital.
What Potter said: “He is in hospital, so he’s in the best place. He is conscious and speaking to his wife, so that is good. We’re obviously very concerned, especially when it first happened. Hopefully, he is in the best place and we keep monitoring.”
Expected return date: Late February/Early March
Kante has suffered an injury-ridden campaign thus far but the midfielder has finally returned to the pitches at Cobham, albeit training alone. The Frenchman is getting closer to full fitness but, until he joins the first-team group, a debut under Potter is left to be desired.
In a major boost, Kante has been doing individual work at Cobham since the end of last week, a source has told football.london . He is not yet training with his teammates, however, but that is understood to not be too far away from doing so.
football.london understands Chelsea have some hope of Kante returning to team training by the end of the week or the start of the following week. However, there will be no rush to return him to action too soon.
What Potter said: “N’Golo did his first couple of days out training on his own but there is still a long, long way to go.”
Expected return date: Late February/Early March
Pulisic issued a two-word hint on his Chelsea return date earlier this month as he continues to nurse a knee injury. The 24-year-old came off second best in a collision with John Stones when the Blues locked horns with Manchester City in the Premier League earlier last month.
The winger has posted an image of himself from when he limped off the pitch against City. Pulisic simply captioned his post: “Back soon.”
What Potter said: “No chance, no, he will be out past that [January transfer deadline] and there was never any consideration about him leaving anyway. He is a couple of months out.
“He is disappointed but he is optimistic about coming back quicker than two months. He is in that phase where he is keeping his fingers crossed and hoping his rehab goes well.”
Expected return date: March
Chelsea confirmed that Mendy had undergone an operation on a fractured finger sustained during training, meaning he will be absent from the squad in the coming games. The Senegalese shot-stopper was not in the squad to face West Ham nor has he travelled to Germany.
Expected return date: Unknown
Chelsea are set to be without Broja for some time after the striker suffered a knee injury in a mid-season friendly against Aston Villa. The 20-year-old screamed in pain following a collision with Ezri Konsa and he was subsequently stretchered off the field of play.
He looked to be in considerable pain and was seen to be clutching his leg as he was tended to by medical staff. The Albania international had no history of knee injuries and his injury is a major blow with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of form.
Broja is expected to be out for at least the remainder of the season after learning that he needs surgery to fix a ruptured cruciate ligament in his right knee, football.london understands. He could be out of action for a minimum of five months and a maximum of 12.
What Potter said: ”It was just an unfortunate action. He got caught up with their player and the ground. It doesn’t look positive at the moment but it’s too early to say. Fingers crossed but it is an awkward one.”