Chelsea fear Carvalho could be out for season as injuries mount
CHELSEA fear that Ricardo Carvalho may be out for the rest of the season after the defender suffered severe ankle ligament damage during Wednesday's 5-0 victory over Portsmouth. The club hope to find out today whether the 31-year-old needs surgery on his left ankle after he fell awkwardly.
The worst-case scenario is that Carvalho will be out for at least eight weeks, a lay-off which would also jeopardise his chances of playing for Portugal in the World Cup finals.
If Chelsea discover that surgery is unnecessary, Carvalho could return in four to five weeks, but he will still miss key games, including the league match away to Manchester United and the FA Cup semi-final against Aston Villa.
The loss of Carvalho is a huge blow to Chelsea, who have suffered a series of injuries this season and are now left with just two fit central defenders.
It means that -- with Jose Bosingwa ruled out for the campaign by a knee injury and Ashley Cole still recovering from his broken ankle -- Chelsea have been shorn of three-quarters of their first-choice defenders.
To add to their woes, Branislav Ivanovic, who hobbled off last weekend against Blackburn, will be out for a month and there are now growing concerns that Michael Essien's knee injury may rule him out for the rest of the season and also from the World Cup after suffering a setback in his rehabilitation.
"I was hoping to be available for the home game against Inter, but the healing has taken a bit longer because my knee kept swelling," the Ghanaian midfielder said yesterday. "In two weeks I ended up having four lots of surgery to try and get the fluid away from the area. Finally it seems to be okay." (© Daily Telegraph, London)