Chelsea could be without Reece James for the foreseeable future, with the young full-back potentially needing surgery on his knee injury.
James complained to Chelsea’s medical staff about discomfort in his right knee after a crunching challenge from Daniel Podence in the side’s 2-1 defeat at Wolves last weekend.
The issue – which predated Chelsea’s trip to Molineux – was initially deemed to be minor but the in-form 21-year-old right-back went for a scan on Saturday after his pain persisted and even increased.
According to The Athletic, there’s a chance James could actually feature in Monday night’s London derby – with a view to carefully managing the injury – but it looks likely he will be forced to sit out the Premier League fixture
The report claims there is a serious possibility of the England defender will need to an operation which would come as a major blow to Chelsea, with games coming thick and fast over a busy winter period.
Frank Lampard is expected to provide an update on the severity of James’ injury when Chelsea host the Hammers.
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech are the only other doubts for the Blues ahead of the clash with David Moyes’ side.
Both have been struggling with thigh injuries but are closing in on their returns to first-team action.
Hudson-Odoi – who was pictured in training at Cobham on Friday – appeared to send a message to Lampard over his fitness on his Instagram page, claiming he was ‘back and ready’.
Chelsea boss Lampard made sure to praise the ‘great job’ Moyes was doing at his former club West Ham ahead of Monday’s encounter.
‘I think he’s doing a great job, they have good players, but the way they are playing and the consistency to the levels they’ve got this season have been really impressive,’ Lampard – who began his playing career at West Ham – said.
‘I think he’s an experienced and a very, very good manager who has got his message across to them.
And they are playing really well, the organisation of their team, the style that they play, it’s very difficult to play against.
‘They have threats on the counter-attack and they are very good at set-pieces, so they are playing really well and are clearly a well-managed team.’