John Terry's slow recuperation from a knee injury means he is unlikely to play any part in the Christmas football calendar.
The prognosis was for an absence of "weeks, not months" but he has not played since, and interim manager Rafael Benitez said yesterday that it was "one step forward, one step back" with Terry.
The defender has not yet returned to full training and is still limited to basic warm-ups. "John was running on the pitch today," Benitez explained. "Not training with the ball, just warm-up.
"The problem is that he has an inflammation. The knee is so complicated. Sometimes it goes well – today was fine in warm-up but the day after sometimes he has a problem. Hopefully it will be easier in the next few weeks."
Injury and suspension have restricted Terry to just 10 starts in Chelsea's 29 matches this season, but Benitez insisted the captain's mood was holding up.
"He's okay. I saw him yesterday with his family. He was fine, talking and joking. He is just trying to be fit as soon as possible. It's a question of time."
Terry is 32 and in the penultimate year of his Chelsea contract. The club's position is to offer only one-year extensions to players in their 30s. (© Independent News Service)
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