Terry set to miss Chelsea's crucial festive fixtures after breaking down in training
15:55 GMT, 21 December 2012
Chelsea captain John Terry is in danger of missing Chelsea’s packed Christmas schedule after he broke down in training this morning.
Terry’s recovery from serious knee surgery is proving to be more complicated than expected.
He came through a warm-up unscathed at the Cobham training ground but then felt pain in his knee.
Blow: John Terry is struggling to recover from a serious knee injury and will likely miss the Christmas schedule
He will definitely miss Sunday’s
Barclays Premier League game against Aston Villa and is a major doubt
for the fixtures against Norwich, Everton and QPR as well.
Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez said: ‘He was training today and running on the pitch but he is not available yet. He was not training with the ball, just warming up.
‘Today was fine in the warm-up but then he gets a problem, it is one step forward, one step back.
'Hopefully it will be easier in the next few weeks. The problem is the inflammation and the knee is so complicated.
‘I hope he will be available at Christmas but I can’t guarantee anything. You can’t predict when he will be available.’
Benitez was confident Terry would not
require further surgery and would not be drawn on reports the
32-year-old was close to opening talks on a new contract to replace the
one that expires in 18 months.
Pressed on Terry's importance to
Chelsea – there is a huge difference in their win-loss record with and
without their skipper – Benitez said: 'If he's the captain, it's because
he's a player that can be a leader.
'I have seen he has a great character.'
Up and running: Fernando Torres (right) in training ahead of Sunday's clash with Aston Villa
At least Chelsea have cover for Terry in defence.
The same cannot be said for their attack if they choose to sell Daniel Sturridge to Liverpool when the transfer window reopens.
A fee has reportedly been agreed for the England striker, with talks said to have reached an impasse over agents' fees.
Benitez would only discuss
Sturridge's fitness today, confirming the 23-year-old was ready to
return from the hamstring problem that has kept him out for more than a
'The situation with Sturridge is the same,' Benitez said.
'Now he's training, he's had another training session.
'He's a player that is available.
'I have to decide if he will be in the squad or in the team.'
Benitez was similarly coy about
Chelsea's own January transfer targets, although he admitted he had held
talks with the club's board over new players.
Don't worry, David: Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez tells Luiz he still needs him after his poor showing against Leeds
'Everybody knows more or less what we are looking for or what we'll try to find,' said Benitez, who will try to sign at least a striker and possibly a midfielder next month.
The Spaniard must also decide whether to recall any of Chelsea's on-loan players, principally Romelu Lukaku from West Brom.
Asked if that was an option, he said: 'I cannot say no but I cannot say yes.
'It's something that we have to analyse in January.'
He added: 'I am talking with the people in the club about how they were doing and we have some information, but no more.'
With Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel expected to depart for African Nations Cup duty early next month, Benitez admitted it was important Chelsea got their transfer business done sooner rather than later.
Tight lipped: Benitez would not be drawn on whether Chelsea will be active during the transfer window
He also conceded it was vital they produced a successful festive programme as they eye the daunting task of eating into the 13-point gap to Premier League leaders Manchester United.
'Always, it's time where you will see where you are,' Benitez said. 'Because you play so many games, it's a crucial time.'
It could also prove important in Benitez's attempts to further quell the fan revolt against his appointment.
Four wins from five games have certainly not done him any harm and he said: 'At the end of the day, you have to judge the manager for the things that you can see on the pitch.
'The last games, we were doing well. Hopefully, we can be consistent and – always I say the same – it will easier.
'I will be working hard as always and I will continue working as hard as I can.'