Stamford Bridge hero damages knee in pre-season.
Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien could miss the first six months of the new campaign after injuring his knee in pre-season.
The Blues face an anxious wait after reports emerged the 28-year-old has ruptured his cruciate ligaments in a challenge at the Cobham training ground.
The club are said to be drafting a statement for release after Essien undergoes more tests from medical staff.
The Ghanaian international has had this injury before. He missed much of the 2008-09 season with the problem.
He also succumbed to a medial ligament injury at the African Nations Cup in 2010, missing half the 2009-10 campaign and the World Cup.
New boss Andre Villas-Boas will be hoping further scans reveal the damage is not as serious as first thought.
If this is the case he will have to enter the transfer market as his only cover in central midfield is Ramires, John Obi Mikel and youngster Josh McEachran.
The news was first broken on Twitter by former Chelsea player Jody Morris.
“Sad news about Michael Essien…first day full training as well,” he wrote on his Twitter page. “Sorry tweeps…heard he done his knee..cruciate..”