Chelsea and England full-back Ben Chilwell has been ruled out until 2022 after suffering suspected anterior cruciate ligament damage, with his club willing to wait and see how the injury heals on its own before the player undergoes season-ending surgery.
Chilwell went down in agony in the second half of the Blues’ 4-0 Champions League group stage thrashing of Juventus on Tuesday night, after an innocuous challenge from Adrien Rabiot.
The 24-year-old had to be helped from the pitch by Chelsea’s medical staff, and was clearly unable to put any weight on his right leg.
The Telegraph reports that a scan on Wednesday suggested Chilwell may well require surgery on his ACL, which would rule the defender out for six to nine months – the rest of the current season at the very least.
However, Chelsea will not rush things in terms of the player having an operation and providing a long-term timeframe. The injury will be given time to heal before the England international undergoes a second scan in the new year, at which point a decision over his surgery will be made and the prognosis will become clearer.
Having overcome a difficult summer where he didn’t feature for England at Euro 2020, and a start to the season where Marcos Alonso initially made the left wing-back spot his own, Chilwell has been mightily impressive in recent weeks, making significant contributions at both ends of the pitch.
He is Chelsea’s joint-third top goalscorer with four so far this campaign, having netted in three consecutive Premier League games in October.
Speaking about the injury after the win over Juve, Chelsea head coach Thomas 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 and so full of confidence and with such a lot of quality. Chilly has a sharp pain in the knee and he was in a lot of pain. Now he feels a bit better so we will have an examination tomorrow to be more precise. We hope for the best and it’s not too bad news.”