Zakaria, James, Pulisic: Chelsea injury news and return dates ahead of Crystal Palace clash


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Graham Potter was dealt another blow against Fulham, losing Denis Zakaria in the second half, on top of Joao Felix’s red card shortly after that made it 11 players unavailable to the boss.

With another London derby on the horizon things aren’t looking promising for the Blues having dropped to 10th in the league, still closer to the relegation zone than to the top four. Their next opponents, Crystal Palace, are on their own bad run though and Chelsea will be buoyed by the news that they are in talks to sign Mykhayilo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

Although the 22-year-old won’t be available for the game at Stamford Bridge on Sunday there is hope that he will be signed in time to face Liverpool next weekend. It will come as a much needed boost after injuries to Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling have significantly depleted Potter’s options.

READ MORE:Everything Mykhaylo Mudryk has said about Arsenal as Chelsea ‘agree’ transfer with £88m ‘hijack’

Here, takes a look at the latest injuries for the Blues.

Denis Zakaria

The Chelsea loanee was forced off after 56 minutes in the defeat to Fulham and has handed a major blow to Potter’s midfield options. Zakaria has started the previous four league games after breaking into Potter’s team.

What Potter said: “The only assessment is it’s at the top of the quad. He felt it when he cleared the ball. In terms of the extent, it’s too early to say.”

Injury: Quadricep

Expected return date: Unknown

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

The midfielder joined his team-mates in training for the first time since November on Tuesday (December 10) but the Fulham clash was deemed too soon. However, he could be available this weekend and provide Potter with the versatility needed in the coming run of games.

Di Marzio reporter Nathan Gissing reports that he had gotten over his injury in time to face Palace but has since been taken ill.

What Potter said: “They’re making progress. Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] is getting closer.”

Injury: Calf

Expected return date: Liverpool (A) – January 21.

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: Unknown

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.

The Athletic reported that the forward is set for a scan on his hamstring to understand the extent of the injury he has suffered and understandably, Sterling was not named in the 18-man squad that travelled to his old stomping ground on Sunday, with Potter giving a brief update on the summer signing.

His second scan is believed to have shown worse damage than first thought though.

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: Unknown

Edouard Mendy

Chelsea confirmed on Saturday that Mendy had undergone an operation on a fractured finger sustained during training this week, 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

Reece James

Pulling up against Bournemouth, James has suffered a further injury after the defender missed the World Cup in Qatar. James has posted an image of himself and N’Golo Kante in recovery though, boosting Chelsea fans’ mood in the new year with the caption: “On the mend.”

What Potter said: “Reece [James] was out on the grass today, not training with the team but on his own.”

Injury: Knee

Expected return date: February

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. Kalidou Koulibaly and Thiago Silva have performed well, but the Frenchman will be keen to return to action soon.

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

N’Golo Kante

Having also missed the World Cup, 2018 winners France fell at the final hurdle, with some hinting that N’Golo Kante’s influence may have been missed in midfield.

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: Thigh

Expected return date: February

Ben Chilwell

Again have missed large parts of the Blues season, fellow defender Ben Chilwell will be keen to get back fit and help Chelsea’s chances of claiming a place in the top four this season.

What Potter said…

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