Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma facing six-month lay off following cruciate injury
Kurt Zouma will this week undergo knee surgery which will rule him out for the rest of the season and Euro 2016, Chelsea have announced.
The France defender injured his anterior cruciate ligament in Sunday's 1-1 Premier League draw with Manchester United.
A statement on Chelsea's official webiste read: "Kurt will undergo surgery in the next 48 hours and is expected to be out for approximately six months."
Zouma landed awkwardly early in the second half of the drawn Premier League contest and was taken off on a stretcher.
He vowed to return "stronger".
The 21-year-old wrote on Twitter: "Scan today has shown I injured my ACL. I will have surgery this week & will come back stronger. Thank you everyone for all the messages."
Zouma has started 16 of the last 19 Chelsea matches in all competitions, displacing Gary Cahill as first-choice alongside captain John Terry.
Cahill, the England vice-captain, will welcome the opportunity to return to the starting XI, even if the circumstances are unfortunate for a team-mate.
Spain full-back Cesar Azpilicueta told the Evening Standard: "Gary is one of the veterans of the team. We know his quality and in this squad, it is always important to be ready.
"We need everybody, we have big games coming up and all of us have to be ready."
Cahill will likely line-up alongside captain John Terry in Saturday's Premier League clash with Newcastle.
Azpilicueta expects Terry to give his all for Chelsea amid his contract stand off.
Terry on Sunday made his first appearance at Stamford Bridge since declaring Chelsea would not be extending his contract this summer.
The 35-year-old captain thanked supporters following the draw with United, but said there had been no communication with the club over his future.
The Blues maintain a contract offer could yet be tabled to Terry, who is set to make his 699th Chelsea appearance against the Magpies.
Azpilicueta added: "It's a situation between him and the club. I don't know what's happening.
"But since I arrived at Chelsea I have learnt a lot from him. I have played alongside him on the left for most of the time, even in training.
"For me, I see no difference in the way he's performing on the pitch, the way he's playing and he is giving everything for the team as always."
Diego Costa's late equaliser means Chelsea are still unbeaten under caretaker boss Guus Hiddink, but only two of the Dutchman's eight Premier League games have been won.
Midfielder Nemanja Matic praised the recent impact of Costa, who has seven goals in nine games.
"Diego is a very important player for our team," Matic told Chelsea TV.
"In the last couple of games he's been doing very well.
"He's shown he is important for us and he's going to be very important until the end of the season."