Chelsea are waiting to find out whether or not Ben Chilwell could miss the rest of the season with suspected anterior cruciate ligament damage in what would represent a significant blow to the player and the club.
Chilwell is undergoing a scan today after being forced off against Juventus on Tuesday night, with his team-mates worried that it will confirm an ACL injury.
Even if the first scan suggests that Chelsea’s worst fear will be confirmed, Chilwell would most likely be scanned for a second time, when the prognosis occasionally changes.
Confirmation of ACL damage would rule left-back Chilwell out for between six and nine months, meaning he would not be expected to play again this season and could also miss the start of the next campaign.
Chelsea are desperately hoping for good news, but should he receive the worst possible outcome then it would be a cruel setback for Chilwell, who has been in outstanding form for Premier League leaders Chelsea since winning his place back in head coach Thomas Tuchel’s team.
The situation is a concern for England manager Gareth Southgate, even though Chilwell would most likely return in plenty of time to be part of his World Cup squad this time next year.
England will start to prepare for the World Cup with games in March and then in the summer, all of which Chilwell could potentially miss if he has suffered an ACL injury. Southgate has Luke Shaw, but left-back is one of the few areas of the pitch where he does not have numerous options.
Chilwell was forced off in Chelsea’s Champions League victory over Juventus after the 24-year-old appeared to jar his knee and rolled on the floor in agony before being helped off the pitch.
Tuchel later said that some of the pain had subsided, but that is consistent with most ACL injuries and fears grew among the squad on Wednesday that the scan could deliver bad news for both Chilwell and Chelsea.
Chilwell suffered a difficult summer, during which he did not play for England at the Euros, before returning to Chelsea to find himself behind Alonso at the start of the season.
But since winning his place back under Tuchel in the Premier League at the start of October, Chilwell has been in exceptional form – scoring in three consecutive games for club and country, and also netting in the 7-0 thrashing of Norwich City.
Speaking about the possibility of losing Chilwell after the Juventus game, Tuchel said: “It worries me because he was in such a fantastic moment like Reece (James) on the other side. They were in the best shape they could possibly be, so strong, full of confidence and such a lot of quality.”
With Chilwell facing the threat of a long spell out, Tuchel is also sweating on the fitness of N’Golo Kante for the Manchester United game after revealing the midfielder was forced off against Juventus with a knee problem.
“He got stronger and stronger in the first half and then twisted his knee a little bit, so, hopefully, it’s not too bad,” said Tuchel.