Tag Archives: intensive

Jesse Ryder out of induced coma and interacting with family after sickening assault in Christchurch

Ryder releases statement after brutal attack as cricketer says he feels 'heaps better' after coming out of induced coma

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

00:05 GMT, 31 March 2013

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UPDATED:

07:04 GMT, 31 March 2013

New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder today said he was 'heaps better' but 'really tired' in his first public statement since the attack which put him in intensive care.

The 28-year-old Wellington all-rounder was admitted to Christchurch Hospital in the early hours of Thursday morning and placed in an induced coma after suffering multiple injuries, including a fractured skull, in an attack outside a bar.

Ryder was yesterday brought out of the coma and is now out of intensive care.

Scroll down for video

Critical condition: Jesse Ryder

Support: Ryder

Stable condition: Jesse Ryder has come out of an induced coma and is regaining speech

Scene: The New Zealand cricketer was attacked close to Aikmans Bar

Scene: The New Zealand cricketer was attacked close to Aikmans Bar

He today he released a statement
saying: 'I just want to let everyone know that I’m okay. I feel heaps
better today but still really tired.

'I’ve been reading your messages that have been sent so thank you to everyone for thinking of me over the last few days.

'I want to thank everyone who has
been caring for me at the hospital – they have been awesome. Thank you
to my family and friends who have been here also.'

Two men – a 20-year-old and a 37-year-old who police said are related – will appear in court on Thursday charged with assault.

Found: The McDonald's in Merivale, Christchurch, where Ryder was found

Followed: The McDonald's in Merivale, Christchurch, where Ryder was attacked

Induced coma: Ryder remains in Christchurch hospital

Induced coma: Ryder remains in Christchurch hospital

Police chief reveals details of incident which left Jesse Ryder…

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Police believe Ryder was involved in
an altercation with two people outside Aikmans bar in the Christchurch
suburb of Merivale shortly after 12.30am local time on Thursday morning,
and was then assaulted by one of the two, who followed him towards the
car park of a nearby McDonald’s.

Ryder, a controversial figure whose
career has been plagued by off-field incidents, has not played for New
Zealand since February last year.

He spent three days in intensive care
but on Saturday his manager, Aaron Klee, revealed that he is now
breathing independently and talking to his family. Police have arrested
two men.

Former New Zealand pace bowler Iain O'Brien said of Ryder: 'He's the kind of guy that always will have a drink.

Jesse Ryder

Jesse Ryder

International: Ryder has played 18 Tests, 39 ODIs and 20 T20s for his country

'When he is off the stuff he's a
wonderful, wonderful man – he's one of the funniest guys and very jovial
– but on the other side of it, when he has been drinking he can
certainly suffer the lows.'

Ryder has played 18 Tests and 39 one-day internationals for the Black Caps, his last appearance an ODI against South Africa.

Paul Gascoigne back in Britain looking frail after a month in American rehab clinic

Gazza flies back for 'one last chance': England legend Gascoigne back in Britain looking frail after a month in rehab clinic

By
Emma Clark, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

05:20 GMT, 10 March 2013

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UPDATED:

05:20 GMT, 10 March 2013

Paul Gascoigne thought he was going to die during his latest stretch in rehab to beat alcohol addiction, it has been reported.

The ex-England and Newcastle player returned to Britain on Saturday after more than a month at the clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, during which he was treated in intensive care.

Doctors said it was the worst detox they had ever seen when the shock of giving up alcohol sent his body into seizure, Gascoigne told The Sun on Sunday.

Thin but sober: Paul Gascoigne arriving at his home yesterday looking frail

Thin but sober: Paul Gascoigne arriving at his home yesterday looking frail

He said: 'Three doctors didn't think I would make it.

'It has got to inspire me to never let this happen again.

'I've come through that – death. I was dead.'

He added: “I thought I was on my way out. I looked like a corpse. I was a total wreck.'

The 45-year-old said he woke up in
intensive care strapped to the bed to stop tubes from falling out of his
arms and was repeatedly injected.

Emotional: The footballer has admitted drinking binges have almost killed him in the past

Emotional: The footballer has admitted drinking binges have almost killed him in the past

Rehab: Gazza is understood to be heading back to Britain after a month in a clinic in Arizona

Rehab: Gazza is understood to be heading back to Britain after a month in a clinic in Arizona

Gascoigne, who also played for Lazio
and Tottenham, said he feels grateful to be alive and is determined to
stay away from alcohol.

His latest stint in rehab was
organised by talkSPORT presenter and former England cricketer Ronnie
Irani and Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans, a long-term friend of
Gascoigne.

The move came following a charity
appearance in Northampton during which the star appeared unwell and
shaking, before breaking down and sobbing on stage in front of a room
full of fans.

Glory days: Paul Gascoigne was one of the best football players of his generation

Glory days: Paul Gascoigne was one of the best football players of his generation

The world of football has shown its
concern at the latest troubled period in the life of Gascoigne, one of
England's most naturally gifted players ever.

Gascoigne, who has spoken about alcoholism problems in the past, was sectioned five years ago under the Mental Health Act.

Jose Maria Olazabal lose to Asia team in Royal Trophy in Brunei

Tables turned on Olazabal as Spaniard watches Europe throw away lead and lose Royal Trophy to Asia

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UPDATED:

13:28 GMT, 16 December 2012

Jose Maria Olazabal might now feel an inkling of Davis Love III’s pain after his Europe side threw away a lead at the Royal Trophy and crashed to defeat against Asia in the Sultanate of Brunei.

If Love, Olazabal’s victim during the Miracle at Medinah, was watching at home in Georgia, one would forgive him a vengeful smirk.

A week under the tropical sun, surrounded by lush rainforest and the South China Sea lapping gently in the distance might sound like a fine way to end the golfing year. But for Olazabal the reality was rather more uncomfortable.

Plagued by an injury that sent shooting pains through his neck and forced his withdrawl from play on Sunday, drenched in sweat from the stifling humidity and beaten by a much-less celebrated Asia team – this was no week in the sun for Ollie.

Comeback kings: Asia Team Captain Naomichi Joe Ozaki of Japan lifts the Royal Trophy after beating Europe

Comeback kings: Asia Team Captain Naomichi Joe Ozaki of Japan lifts the Royal Trophy after beating Europe

Party time: The Asia Team celebrate beating Europe

Party time: The Asia Team celebrate beating Europe

The great Spaniard was hoping to cement his status as a great European captain by following the Ryder Cup with another intercontinental triumph but was forced to withdraw from the final day’s singles after the neck injury he sustained yesterday failed to respond overnight to intensive treatment. The only consolation was that, rather than forfeit the match, competition rules meant the match was halved due to Olazabal’s injury.

That's it: Miguel Angel Jimenez shakes hands with Jeev Milka Singh of India after finishing their round

That's it: Miguel Angel Jimenez shakes hands with Jeev Milka Singh of India after finishing their round

Happy times: YE Yang of South Korea and Japan's Ryo Ishikawa celebrate as the European team look on

Happy times: YE Yang of South Korea and Japan's Ryo Ishikawa celebrate as the European team look on

It might seem more than a little unfair on the Asian team, who would have won before the eventual playoff were he forced to concede, but the same rule applies in the Ryder Cup. Golf remains a gentleman’s game, despite what you might think about the scenes surrounding certain tees at Medinah.

‘I am extremely disappointed,’ admitted Olazabal. ‘Everyone knows how much respect I have for the game of golf, for my opponents, and for this competition. Pulling out of a match is not a decision I would ever take lightly.

Watching it all the way: Jeev Milkha Singh of India putts on the third hole and but sees his effort miss (below)

Watching it all the way: Jeev Milkha Singh of India putts on the third hole and but sees his effort miss (below)

Jeev Milkha Singh

'I am part of a team, with the added responsibility of being the captain, and to risk throwing away a point because of selfish pride would be unthinkable.’

Nicolas Colsaerts had appeared to set Europe on course for a routine victory with a win in the opening singles match against Sang-moon Bae, the Belgian bomber inspired by an eagle on the long 15th thanks to a jaw-dropping 60-foot putt. But Henrik Stenson was Olazabal’s only other winner on the day as Yoshinori Fujimoto, Jeev Milkha Singh and YE Yang took European scalps.

On course for victory: Ryo Ishikawa of Japan watches his tee shot on the fourth hole

On course for victory: Ryo Ishikawa of Japan watches his tee shot on the fourth hole

The Asian fightback forced a four-man, fourball playoff – there is no cop-out of retaining the trophy here in the event of a points tie (bad luck for Olazabal, but what would have transpired had Love been afforded that luxury) And Colsaerts appeared to have landed the knockout blow with a stunning wedge into the 18th green following his umpteenth tracer-bullet drive of the week.

No Euro joy this time: Marcel Siem of Germany watches his tee shot on the third hole

No Euro joy this time: Marcel Siem of Germany watches his tee shot on the third hole

But, ironically, it was ultimately one of Olazabal’s Ryder Cup heroes who let him down at the crunch. Kim sank an eight-footer for birdie, while Colsaerts missed from just five feet to hand victory to Asia, whose captain, Joe Ozaki, danced Gangnam Style in celebration.

It was Olazabal who made famous victory dances, but he will have to return to Spain and console himself, glass of wine in hand, with the memories of those incredible days in Chicago. Although he takes this emerging and promising competition very seriously, one imagines he will do that just fine.

Hoffenheim midfielder Boris Vukcevic in critical but stable condition after car crash

Hoffenheim midfielder Vukcevic in critical but stable condition at hospital after car crash

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UPDATED:

13:56 GMT, 30 September 2012

Hoffenheim midfielder Boris Vukcevic remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital following a car crash on Friday.

The 22-year-old is still in a coma after two nights in a Heidelberg clinic following the accident, which occurred while the player was on his way to training on Friday.

He remains in intensive care, his club confirmed today, and his condition 'remains critical', but he is in 'the best possible hands,' according to Hoffenheim's general manager Andreas Muller.

Critical: Boris Vukcevic of Hoffenheim is in a critical but stable condition

Critical: Boris Vukcevic of Hoffenheim is in a critical but stable condition

'We have discussed how we should deal with the situation. We know that Boris is in the best possible hands and all we can do is hope that his condition stabilises itself further,' he said.

Hoffenheim fulfilled their Bundesliga fixture against Augsburg yesterday, managing a 0-0 draw, and the players have now been given two days off before returning to training on Tuesday.

'The players should remain with their families and try to clear their minds as much as possible,' said Muller.

'Of course they have the opportunity of coming into our training centre whenever they want.'

Wreck: The midfielder's car was seriously damaged during the crash

Wreck: The midfielder's car was seriously damaged during the crash

Tributes: Hoffenheim fans held up shirts and banners for their midfielder before the game against Augsburg

Tributes: Hoffenheim fans held up shirts and banners for their midfielder before the game against Augsburg

London Paralympics 2012: Murderball – told by GB captain Steve Brown

Get ready for MURDERBALL! GB wheelchair rugby captain Steve Brown explains all

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 4 September 2012

Back in 2009 in a wheelchair rugby game in Germany, my chair was hit by two players at the same time and I flew out of it and landed across their knees, broke my sternum – my breastbone – some ribs and had other complications.

I didn’t realise how badly hurt I was at first and drove back home. But the next day my chest was black and blue and I ended up in intensive care for three days, hospital for six weeks and then couldn’t play for four months so missed some big competitions.

It put my training and career back somewhat. But that’s the reality of wheelchair rugby. That’s why it was originally called Murderball.

Ready for action: Steve Brown will lead Paralympics GB wheelchair rugby

Ready for action: Steve Brown will lead Paralympics GB wheelchair rugby

SAME DIFFERENCE

The jaw-dropping physicality may seem familiar – but wheelchair rugby shares little else with its mother game.

You can pass the round ball in any direction within 10 seconds of receiving the ball.

There is a ‘key’ area in front of the goal-line – only three defenders are allowed in it at one time.

A point is scored when a player crosses an opponent’s goal-line with the ball in possession.

There are 12 players on each team but only four can be on court at once.

Tip-off: 2pm Basketball Arena.

After I broke my neck falling from a balcony while on holiday in Germany, paralysing me from the chest down, I was recommended to go and watch a wheelchair rugby match by my physio.

I was embarrassed and worried what people might think. Then I went into the hall and saw these people playing the game — and they were completely the opposite.

I was nervous of falling out of my chair, but they were doing everything to knock each other out of theirs.

It was a real turning point for me because there I was wondering how my life was going to pan out, and here were these people who were well past that stage of their lives. They were instant inspiration for me.

I was very nervous, depressed and scared of the future. I had every negative emotion you could think of after I was injured.

I went and watched this game and there
were people smashing into each other, arguing and shouting, full of
testosterone and excitement — exactly the other end of the scale from
where I was.

Rough and tumble: Wheelchair rugby has the nickname 'murderball' for its ferocity

Rough and tumble: Wheelchair rugby has the nickname 'murderball' for its ferocity

The Paralympics are special because the athletes have gone through so much and often have a lot of other challenges to overcome. They have had to cope with a lot more in their lives than just the sport, the training and dedication.

When life gives you a bad hand it is very easy to give up, so you have to admire the athletes involved for carrying on.

I didn’t make it to the Beijing Paralympics, I was the last member of the wheelchair rugby squad to be cut. It is these knockbacks that make it worth carrying on and believing in yourself enough to try again.

If it was easy to be the best in your sport where would the satisfaction come from when you make it

It’s only worth winning if it is hard to win.

London 2012 Olympics: Mo Farah may suffer from lactic acid build up

It's the acid test for Mo! Lactate residue standing in Farah's way in bid for double gold

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 10 August 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
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MEDALS TABLE

Mo Farah cannot hope to be at more than 95 per cent of his full fitness in Saturday's 5,000 metres. His main rivals will be at 100 per cent.

This is the opinion of his team-mate and friend Chris Thompson, a European 10,000m silver medallist, who, like Farah, lives and trains as part of the Nike Oregon Project for endurance runners in the United States.

Thompson is not being unkind to his mate but realistic because of his personal studies into the effects on the body of intensive exercise.

Taking its toll Mo farah could suffer from the lactic acid build after performing in other events at such a high level

Taking its toll Mo farah could suffer from the lactic acid build after performing in other events at such a high level

The greatest rival to Farah today, thinks Thompson, is not the other runners but the unseen damage done already to his body.

'I think he has taken on a huge challenge, something only four guys in history have achieved. He is up against very good athletes who are fresh. He could do it physically but it is not going to be easy,' said Thompson, who had one of the worst runs of his own career in last Saturday's 10,000m when Farah won.

What convinces Thompson that Farah will have lost a vital percentage is simple science. Intense exercise takes its toll.

There are micro-tears in the muscles and tissue inflammation for starters from Farah's two previous races in the last seven days.

But the killer is lactic acid, or lactate as scientists know it. It is a vital fuel for the body when running long distance flat out, converting carbohydrates into fuel for the muscles when oxygen is not enough.

Long seen as the bad guy of distance running, scientists have come round to the opinion that it is a good guy but with a bad by-product, a hydrogen ion that interferes with electrical signals in muscles and nerves, slowing energy reaction and impairing muscle contractions.

Chris Thompson (left) highlighted the threat lactic acid build-up can pose to competitors

Chris Thompson (left) highlighted the threat lactic acid build-up can pose to competitors

It is what the fun runner experiences when they hit 'the wall' in a charity marathon. It is what Gabriela Andersen-Schiess, a Swiss marathon runner, famously suffered when she weaved from side to side on the last lap in the 1984 Olympic Stadium.

It is what great runners like Farah train to delay but which they can never entirely prevent. 'How big is your threshold That is what you try to improve by intense training. But there is no way of avoiding it entirely. It is what slows you down eventually,' said Thompson.

'It can happen in an 800m if you are running too hard. It is like a defence mechanism in the body, nature trying to make you slow down when you are putting too great demands on it.

'It slowly builds up on you until suddenly your body is telling you, “I can't do this any more”.'

Fresh enough The likes of Dejen Gebremeskel (centre) will be at 100 per cent fitness

Fresh enough The likes of Dejen Gebremeskel (centre) will be at 100 per cent fitness

Thompson would not be surprised if those who are fresh, like the Ethiopians Hagos Gebrhiwet and Dejen Gebremeskel and Ugandan Moses Kipsiro, employ a strategy of constantly changing pace.

Quick, slow, quick . . . the effective way to induce more immediate lactic acid build-up.

Their reasoning will be that they can endure it better than a fatigued Farah.

'That would be a very clever tactic because the easiest way to run distance races is at even pace. Changing pace makes it a lot tougher, testing the other man's threshold,' said Thompson.

The by-product of lactate builds up
more rapidly when the pace is constantly changing. The leg muscles fill
with the by-product and suddenly a runner feels they are running in
treacle.

'You're weighed
down,' said Thompson. Lactate residue can be gone from muscles within
hours and is helped by the slower warm-down athletes do.

They also try to minimise muscle damage by taking ice baths afterwards.

The pain barrier: Farah will have to push himself to the limit

The pain barrier: Farah will have to push himself to the limit

But Thompson believes the effects of an intense race will endure for at least a fortnight 'and probably longer'.

Farah is attempting a double achieved at the last Games in Beijing by the Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele for the first time since the Seventies, when the flying Finn Lasse Viren did a Bolt-style double double in Munich and Montreal.

Only the greatest are good enough to do it. Farah is up against at least one of the sport's greats, Bernard Lagat, the Kenyan-born American who did the double at the 2007 World Championships in the 1500m and 5,000m and earlier this year won the world indoor 3,000m title.

He is 37 now but no shrewder head exists on a runner's shoulders and he will know how to test Farah to the limit.

The Ethiopians will also be running team tactics, and although Britain's finest can expect help in the early and middle laps from his American training partner Galen Rupp, he must hope that lactic residue, the micro-tears and the inflammation will not make a pedestrian of him.

If Farah fails it will not be for want of an extreme effort but because of his body's extreme efforts on other days.

Jack Collison gives West Ham a shot in the arm by declaring himself fit for play-off final

Collison gives West Ham a shot in the arm by declaring himself fit for play-off final

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UPDATED:

18:16 GMT, 17 May 2012

Jack Collison has handed West Ham a major fitness boost ahead of Saturday's npower Championship play-off final.

The Wales midfielder scored twice in the 2-0 semi-final first-leg win in Cardiff a fortnight ago, but was expected to miss out at Wembley after dislocating his shoulder in the second leg.

However, after receiving intensive treatment, Collison returned to training today and is set to be involved in the big promotion decider against Blackpool.

'Everyone who has been playing recently is fit, the squad is strong and we just have one final day to select the side,' said manager Sam Allardyce.

Boost: Collison is fit for Wembley

Boost: Collison is fit for Wembley

'It's been a bit of a long wait since we played Cardiff but we are rested, eager and hopefully we can give our best performance of the season.'

West Ham go into the clash as short-priced favourites having thumped eight goals past Blackpool in their two meetings this term.

And despite accusations of over-confidence emanating from the Blackpool camp, Allardyce has backed the Hammers to handle the pressure.

'It's a one-off game,' he said. It's a fabulous game to be involved in, particularly for the players.

One-off game: Allardyce

One-off game: Allardyce

'We are the favourites with all the pressure on us, so we have to handle that as we have done all season. Hopefully we can deliver and beat Blackpool for third time this season.

'But it won't be easy, we will treat them with the utmost respect and make sure we try to expose the weaknesses they have in their side if we can and as early as we can.

'We've got to live with the pressure to spur us on to give us our best performance. The pressure should bring the best out of us and not be one of those games where we actually freeze on the big stage.'

Leicester"s Paul Gallagher in mourning after death of son

Leicester's Gallagher in mourning after new born son dies and twin daughter fights for life

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UPDATED:

16:52 GMT, 24 April 2012

Leicester City winger Paul Gallagher has been struck by tragedy after the premature death of his baby son.

The former Blackburn man's daughter weighs just two pounds and 10 ounces and is also fighting for her life in intensive care after the twins were born several weeks early.

Gallagher wrote on Twitter that 'precious' Luca James had died after Paul's wife Hayley, 29, went into labour.

Mourning: Paul Gallagher has suffered the loss of his newborn son, who was born prematurely, while a twin sister fights for her life

Mourning: Paul Gallagher has suffered the loss of his newborn son, who was born prematurely, while a twin sister fights for her life

Mourning: Paul Gallagher has suffered the loss of his newborn son, who was born prematurely, while a twin sister fights for her life

The 27-year-old also wrote on Twitter: 'Thank you 4 all ur support at this hard time, it’s been a long day and a lots of tears! #riplucajames #prayforava xxx

'When I woke up this morning, was praying yesterday was a nightmare, but has been the hardest day of my life!'

He also added of his daughter Ava Amelie: 'Thank you every1 for ur support! Going up to see Ava in NICU she is a little fighter. Miss u Luca'

Hayley, who was due to give birth in June, posted: 'Worst day of our lives lost our precious little boy Luca James. Ava Amelie 2lb 10oz in special care unit #riplucajames #prayforava xx

'Overwhelmed by the love and support. Thank you everyone for the kind messages'

Gallgher's team-mates have also shown their support, with Leicester midfielder Ben Marshall last night lifting his shirt to reveal a vest after the game against West Ham, which said: 'Thinking of you Gally'.

Fabrice Muamba set to leave London

Muamba set to leave London as Bolton remain hopeful he will one day make comeback

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UPDATED:

22:19 GMT, 8 April 2012

Fabrice Muamba is expected to return north this week for the first time since he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Tottenham last month with Bolton increasingly hopeful that he will make a Premier League comeback in the future.

They remain cautious because the 23-year-old midfielder is still in stable condition in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital, and there are several medical issues still to be resolved before they can be sure about the long-term outlook.

But crucially Muamba's heart and other major organs appear to be healthy, and he has recovered sufficiently for doctors to consider transferring him to a high-dependency in the north-west towards the end of the week.

Recovery: Fabrice Muamba's health continues to improve

Recovery: Fabrice Muamba's health continues to improve

Hope: Bolton hope he will one day be able to play again

Hope: Bolton hope he will one day be able to play again

Reports that the England Under-21 international could return to training in a month are rather optimistic, although it is possible that he could make an appearance at Bolton's Euxton HQ before the end of the season and even take part in a gentle workout if doctors give him the all-clear.

Muamba's miraculous recovery has continued to raise hope that he will be able to play again at the highest level, which would be astounding considering that he was clinically dead for 78 minutes after collapsing to the turf during the FA Cup tie at White Hart Lane just over three weeks ago.

Chelsea"s Didier Drogba and David Luiz doubtful for Benfica

Chelsea duo Drogba and Luiz in fitness race for crunch Champions League clash

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UPDATED:

22:11 GMT, 1 April 2012

Chelsea pair Didier Drogba and David Luiz will receive intensive treatment in a bid to be fit for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Benfica.

Drogba missed Saturday’s 4-2 win at Aston Villa with a toe injury picked up in training on Friday, while Luiz limped off before half-time with an ankle- ligament injury.

Both are doubts for the quarter-final second leg against Jorge Jesus’s side at Stamford Bridge. The pair had treatment on their respective injuries on Sunday and will have further therapy on Monday in an attempt to get them fit for Wednesday night.

Doubts: Didier Drogba and David Luiz are facing a race against time to be fit for Chelsea's Champions League match against Benfica

Doubts: Didier Drogba and David Luiz are facing a race against time to be fit for Chelsea's Champions League match against Benfica

Doubts: Didier Drogba and David Luiz are facing a race against time to be fit for Chelsea's Champions League match against Benfica

Chelsea’s medical team will assess Drogba and Luiz on Tuesday morning before Roberto Di Matteo makes a decision on their availability ahead of the match.

Gary Cahill is likely to deputise for ex-Benfica centre half Luiz if the Brazil defender is ruled out. But Drogba’s possible absence could help solve a selection headache for Di Matteo.

Should the Ivorian prove his fitness, the Chelsea manager will be left facing a dilemma over whether Drogba or Fernando Torres should start against the Portuguese giants.

Di Matteo will be reluctant to drop Torres as the Spaniard continued his recent resurgence with a match-winning display at Villa Park.

Torres had a hand in two goals and ended his six- month Premier League goal drought with an expertly taken 90th-minute strike. The former Liverpool striker finally looks to be back on the goalscoring trail domestically, notching three goals from his last three starts.

Comeback trail: Fernando Torres finally ended his Premier League goal drought

Comeback trail: Fernando Torres finally ended his Premier League goal drought

Spain’s World Cup winner set up Salomon Kalou’s winner in the first-leg 1-0 win against Benfica, and another goal-scoring performance will reinforce his claim to overtake Drogba as the club’s first-choice centre forward.

‘Strikers, they feed off goals but apart from that Fernando’s been playing very, very well, even without the goals, assisting other goals,’ said Di Matteo.

‘He works so hard for the team and we are emphasising that the team is the most important aspect. He’s enjoying himself, he’s enjoying playing, he’s got a smile on his face. He’s confident.’

Permanent Roberto Di Matteo

Permanent Roberto Di Matteo

Sportsmail exclusively revealed last week that Di Matteo has emerged as a contender to land the Chelsea manager’s job on a full-time basis thanks to an impressive spell as interim boss.

The Di Matteo bandwagon seems to be gathering pace with the club’s supporters — who sang his name throughout the weekend win. And a clutch of Chelsea players are beginning to warm to the idea of having the former Chelsea midfielder and his assistant Eddie Newton in charge permanently.

A Chelsea source said: ‘There was a fear factor among the players under Andre Villas-Boas. If they made a mistake they felt they would be dropped. He was under immense pressure himself and there was a feeling that he transferred it on to the players.

‘But the atmosphere at the training ground is more relaxed under Di Matteo. They are playing with no fear now and that is coming through in their results.’