Reece James, Raheem Sterling: Chelsea injury news and expected return dates ahead of Fulham game   26/01/2023 05:30

Graham Potter's first few months as Chelsea manager have been extremely unlucky when it comes to injuries.

The former Brighton boss has led his team to tenth in the current Premier League standings, although it can be argued that some of the Blues' struggles come down to the large number of injury woes they have suffered in recent months, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Wesley Fofana, Reece James and Ben Chilwell all missing large stretches through fitness problems.

Potter's side are next in action on February 3, when they play Fulham at Stamford Bridge and by that point, Chelsea could have several first-team stars back in contention, a huge boost in their hopes of climbing up the table and challenging for a spot in the top four. So, with that being said, takes you through all the Blues injury news and updates.

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Chalobah was forced off after going down off-the-ball against Liverpool and it has since been confirmed that he was merely suffering from cramp. He received treatment from the club physio and was replaced by Cesar Azpilicueta in the final 10 minutes of action.

What Potter said: "I don’t know to be honest. I've had to come out and speak to you guys."

Injury: Cramp

Expected return date: Fulham (February 3)

Reece James

James suffered a knee injury in Chelsea's 2-0 win over AC Milan last year following a collision with Theo Hernandez. Then, upon his return after the World Cup, he pulled up against Bournemouth triggering another injury.

The 23-year-old returned to the pitches at Cobham ahead of the defeat to Fulham, but he was still training alone. Then, ahead of the tie with Liverpool, he first began to feature in first-team training again.

Still, Chelsea are hopeful of James featuring in some capacity for their next Premier League fixture against Fulham on February 3

What Potter said: "The boys are progressing well. Reece [James] has joined team training but won’t be involved at the weekend (against Liverpool)."

Injury: Knee

Expected return date: Fulham (February 3)

Over the last few days, Chilwell has also been pictured back in first-team training again. The defender has missed large parts of the season so he'll be keen to return to match fitness and help Chelsea's chances of claiming a place in the top four.

What Potter said: "The boys are progressing well. Reece [James] has joined team training but won’t be involved at the weekend. Same for Ben Chilwell."

Injury: Thigh

Expected return date: Fulham (February 3)

N'Golo Kante

Kante has suffered an injury-ridden campaign this 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.

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."

Injury: Hamstring

Expected return date: Early March

Wesley Fofana

Having missed most of the season so far, former Leicester man Wesley Fofana's influence at the back has been somewhat felt in his absence. However, in a huge boost to the Blues and the defender himself, it appears as though a return is just around the corner, having been pictured in training again.

According to the Evening Standard, Fofana is hoping to make his return within the next fortnight.

What Potter said: ''Wesley had a little setback, which can sometimes happen at the very last stage of rehab, so he will be [out for] a couple of weeks."

Injury: Knee

Expected return date: February

Denis Zakaria

The Chelsea loanee has impressed in recent weeks, forcing his way into the first-team after a slow start to his career at Stamford Bridge. However, in a huge blow to the side, he was forced off after 56 minutes in the defeat to Fulham and has handed a major blow to Potter's midfield options.

What Potter said: "Denis is going to be probably four weeks. It’s the top of his quad and that is a blow for us. Hopefully, he can return sooner."

Injury: Thigh

Expected return date: February.

Christian Pulisic

Pulisic was subbed off with an injury in the Premier League defeat to Manchester City, coming off worse in a tackle by John Stones. The United States international was visibly distressed as he went down twice following the challenge.

He was eventually replaced by Carney Chukwuemeka and also was absent from the matchday squad for the FA Cup clash against City. He is set for another lengthy spell on the sidelines.

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."

Injury: Knee

Expected return date: March

Raheem Sterling

Sterling was replaced by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inside the opening couple of minutes in the same fixture Chelsea lost Pulisic. The 28-year-old winger fell to the floor with a grimace on his face following a collision with John Stones.

However, Sterling is now expected to step up his recovery from his hamstring injury in the coming days, understands and it is hoped that he can return to team training by the start of next week.

What Potter said: "Raheem less [than Pulisic] but we’re still evaluating the extent of it. Hopefully less than that, though."

Injury: Hamstring

Expected return date: February

Edouard Mendy

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 missed the Bournemouth match and didn't even make the bench against Forest. He had previously come back from international duty in October with an injury but played for his club since then despite being replaced as No1 by Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Injury: Finger

Expected return date: Unknown

Armando Broja

Having pulled up nastily in the side's mid-season friendly against Aston Villa, Armando Broja could be heard reeling in pain as his knee injury more than definitely curtailed his 22/23 season. Having made quite the impression under Potter, it was a sad blow for the former Southampton loanee.

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.''

Injury: Knee

Expected return date: Summer/Autumn 2023


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