John Terry revealed yesterday that, because of the pain-killing injections he is having, it will take virtually the whole of this season for the broken toe in his right foot to heal.
The England captain confirmed that he had been undergoing injections since "day one" of the campaign after fracturing the small toe in Chelsea's pre-season friendly against Suwon Bluewings in July.
"A broken toe would take four to six weeks to heal," Terry explained. "With the injections every game and in training, it's going to take six to eight months to heal. It's not going to kill me. You carry on."
Asked further if he was concerned at the possibility of long-term damage being caused by the jabs, Terry, who trains in boots which are slit down the side to relieve the pressure on his foot, added: "Whether it's going to hinder me when I'm 36 or 40, I don't know. In 10 or 15 years' time I don't want to turn round and say, 'I wish I could have played in this game or that game'."
The 27-year-old has always demonstrated that desire to play in every game, often through injury, particularly with the back problems which eventually saw him miss almost four months of last season.
Terry is also known as a player who is willing to accept injections – in this case the anaesthetic marcain – if it means he can play. Some at Chelsea think he has been foolhardy at times – and it was with exasperation that Claudio Ranieri, the former manager, once ran on to the training pitches to bellow out that the defender, while recovering from a previous back injury, shouldn't really be practising overhead kicks.
The debate has continued all this week into whether or not Steven Gerrard should also have a jab on a similar toe injury, with the Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez counselling against it. And although Terry wouldn't be drawn on what the midfielder should do, he added: "But certainly the doctors at Chelsea have told me my toe is not going to get any worse by having the injection and playing. If it was it would make it a different issue and it wouldn't be right for him to play. As it is, it might just take a little bit longer for it to heal.
"As a player, it's a short career and I don't want to miss one game for Chelsea or for England, or even a day's training. If that means having an injection, that's what I'll do." The injections numb the pain for about four hours and Terry said that although the toe does not feel any worse after a match, he has to be careful to "get the swelling down and be ready for the next game". That includes immediately "icing" the injury.
Terry has taken the injections with the approval of his club manager Jose Mourinho adding: "I've spoken to him [Mourinho] and if there was an issue about making it worse, maybe he would step in and say. But it would still come down to me. If I say I can play, I will." Still, with a long season ahead the prognosis is a concern.
He will certainly start today against Israel with Terry stating that England have to win "all four home games" to have a chance of qualifying for Euro 2008. The injury concerns, he said, will be brushed to one side. "There are no excuses," Terry added.Reuse content