After an 11-week wait to return to action following his serious knee injury, Reece James marked his return to action with another injury concern and by hobbling off the pitch after just 50 minutes of play.
Following the game with Bournemouth, Graham Potter provided an update on the defender (as relayed on the club’s official website): ‘Reece is disappointed of course, and at the moment we’re just in a stage where we’re hoping that it isn’t as bad.
‘He’s been really disappointed to miss the World Cup, it was a huge blow for him, and he wanted to give himself every chance to be in the squad. And you can see today with his quality, what he brings to the team.
‘So he’s just had to deal with the injury and try to get back fit and I think he has done that well. I wanted to take steps and the plan was for him not to play 90 minutes tonight. He was to play 60 to 65 minutes, which is a build up from what he did previously. So now he’s disappointed of course and we just want to hope that it’s not as bad as it was. And then he can get on a speedy recovery.’
Despite securing a 2-0 victory whilst the pressure was piling on, it’s clear that the former Brighton boss had a considerable amount of fear regarding the severity of the injury his right-back had sustained.
It was far too soon at the time of talking for the 47-year-old to know how long the England international could be out for but after missing the World Cup through knee problems, the collective prayers at Stamford Bridge will be centered around hoping that 2023 isn’t met with anywhere near as much disruption for the former Wigan loanee.
Gareth Southgate will also be watching on in the hope of seeing the 23-year-old back to his best soon, as competition for his position in the national side will only be increased if he makes a name for himself as a liability through fitness issues.
With six games coming in 21 January days for the Blues, they will need as many players ready to play as possible as they try and push back into the top four of the Premier League.
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