Chelsea midfielder Marco van Ginkel is expected to be out for at least six months after having an operation on his anterior cruciate ligament injury, which he sustained in the 2-0 win over Swindon Town in the Capital One Cup.
The Blues feared the worst when the 20-year-old collapsed to the ground in agony after a collision with Town midfielder Alex Pritchard in the 10th minute.
And despite attempting to play on, Van Ginkel was unable to continue and was subsequently replaced moments later by Ramires, who also suffered injury in the first half.
Assistant coach Steve Holland expressed his concern that the injury was worse than first feared after an initial assessment, saying "it doesn't look good" on Tuesday, with the youngster expected to be out for some time.
Chelsea today confirmed that Van Ginkel has successfully undergone surgery on his knee injury and is likely to be out for around six months, which is slightly more promising than the nine months that was estimated at first by his agent Rob Jansen.
Nevertheless, it’s a blow for Jose Mourinho, who only signed the promising midfielder from Vitesse Arnhem in July for £8m, although the Portuguese coach has plenty of options in the midfield area. He has made four appearances this season but has featured for just 93 minutes.
The operation means that Van Ginkel is likely to return to action in the last week of March, and the Dutch international, who has made two appearances for his country, now faces a race to be fit in time for the World Cup in Brazil next summer.