Terry out for six weeks with knee injury... saving the FA a headache

Chelsea defender to miss England friendly... removing one awkward problem for the FA

Naples

John Terry will miss England's friendly against the Netherlands a week today as he recovers from a knee operation that the former captain of the national team is expected to undergo today.

Terry, 31, missed Chelsea's Champions League last-16 first-leg defeat against Napoli last night having failed to come through a fitness test yesterday morning. The decision was made that the problem with his knee – understood to be a piece of floating bone – was serious enough that he should have a procedure carried out on it today in the hope that he will be back in action in around four to six weeks.

It removes one awkward problem for the Football Association who removed the captaincy from Terry this month after his court case for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand was delayed until after this summer's European Championships. While he would have been available for selection, the attention Terry was likely to attract had he been in the squad would have been unwelcome for the FA.

It also spares the interim England manager Stuart Pearce the issue of Terry being in the same squad as Rio Ferdinand, brother of Anton. Before last night, Terry had not played in the last four games for Chelsea, none of which the team had won.

Pearce will hold a press conference at Wembley Stadium tomorrow to announce his squad for the Netherlands game. Terry is understood to have aggravated the knee playing in the FA Cup game against Queen's Park Rangers on 28 January, the match which attracted so much controversy because of the cancellation of the pre-match handshake.

Terry has had a similar problem before in late 2007 when he needed an operation to remove a piece of floating bone in his knee. He was ruled out of England's last two Euro 2008 qualifiers against Russia and Croatia as a result – both games were lost and England failed to qualify for the tournament under Steve McClaren. This most recent injury was sustained in Chelsea's victory over Portsmouth in the FA Cup third round when Terry slid in to clear the ball off the line and hit his knee on the goalpost.

Chelsea last night released a statement on Terry's fitness. It read: "John has tried hard to be ready for [last night's] game but it was clear after training on Monday night that it was not going to be possible. He will undergo an exploratory arthroscopy in the next day or so, after which the club's medical team will be better placed to advise on a prognosis."

Meanwhile, it is understood Ramires is close to signing a contract extension that would tie him to Chelsea until 2017. The Brazilian midfielder's current deal still has more than two years left to run but the Blues see the 24-year-old – who has been one of their few shining lights this term – very much as part of their long-term plans.

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