Christopher Nkunku set for ‘extended’ lay-off as Chelsea confirm knee surgery
Posted by  badge Boss on Aug 08, 2023 - 06:57PM
The Frenchman underwent surgery on the knee problem this week (Picture: Getty)

will be without for the opening months of the new season after he suffered a knee injury in the club’s final friendly.

The summer signing from RB Leipzig played just over 20 minutes against Borussia Dortmund last Thursday in Chicago before being forced off after catching his studs in the turf, with Mykhailo Mudryk coming on as his replacement.

Mauricio Pochettino was not able to confirm the extent of the problem afterwards but hoped it would be ‘nothing big’, but unfortunately the injury is worse than originally feared.

Nkunku, who was plagued by injuries last season, has required surgery on the issue and is set to be out of action for months rather than weeks.

A statement from the club on Tuesday read: ‘Nkunku has sustained a knee injury which will rule the forward out for an extended period.

‘The 25-year-old has undergone an operation and will now begin a rehabilitation programme with the club’s medical department.’

While Chelsea did not put a timeframe on Nkunku’s return, are reporting that he is expected to be out of action for three months after damaging the meniscus in his knee.

Nkunku was forced off in the 22nd minute against Dortmund (Picture: Getty)

A lay-off of that length will mean Nkunku will be targeting a return to action at the backend of November following the international break, with Chelsea visiting Newcastle on November 25.

Even that may come too soon, though, with claiming he will be sidelined for 16 weeks and is unlikely to play again before December.

Nkunku tore his knee ligaments on the eve of last year’s World Cup, forcing him to miss the tournament, and then suffered further issues following his return to action in February.

Despite his lack of consistent game time in the second half of the campaign, he still netted 16 goals and finished as the Bundesliga’s joint topscorer.

Nkunku’s injury weakens Pochettino’s already limited options up front even further.

Nicolas Jackson is set to lead the line against Liverpool on Sunday in Chelsea’s first Premier League clash of the new season, but the Argentine coach has precious few options beyond that.

Armando Broja is still recovering from injury while youngster Mason Burstow has been called upon in pre-season.

Romelu Lukaku is still on Chelsea’s books but is not in Pochettino’s first-team plans, though the Belgian could be used as a makeweight in a potential swap deal for Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic.

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