Graham Potter has confirmed N’Golo Kante’s injury timeline and when Chelsea expect him to return following hamstring surgery.
The 31-year-old hasn’t featured in the Premier League since August for Chelsea after a hamstring injury and he suffered a setback which saw him undergo surgery in October.
Kante’s expected time out was around four months which would have taken him to the middle of February before a return could even be considered.
He flew out with the rest of the squad to Abu Dhabi earlier this month to continue his rehabilitation, but a return won’t come any quicker.
As Chelsea prepare to resume their Premier League season on Tuesday against AFC Bournemouth, Potter has several selection decisions to make and many injury problems to contend with.
“Kante is a while, end of February start of March,” Potter said, when asked about the France international’s condition.
The Chelsea head coach is only focused on getting Kante back on the pitch as soon as possible.
He added: “My focus is to get him back fit as soon as possible.
“Everyone knows the quality, it’s just getting him on the pitch playing football.”
The mid-season World Cup has helped Chelsea’s injured players get back fit without the need to rush back.
It also sees many players who were involved with their countries in Qatar take a break before returning for club duty.
Potter knows he needs to manage the players’ minutes and schedules, which is constantly being assessed to ensure they reduce the chance of injuries within the squad.
The 47-year-old continued: “What we’ve done is given the guys at the World Cup some time off. It’s not easy to get balance right. You have to constantly evaluate the players and assess.”
“We don’t know how the World Cup affects (us) long-term. It’s a constant assessment. Now we are confident and can prepare normally for games.”
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