Drogba struck down by fever

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Chelsea's injury crisis deepened ahead of Saturday's crucial clash at Aston Villa after the loss of striker Didier Drogba with a fever and mystery surrounding Yossi Benayoun's Achilles rupture.

Frank Lampard has failed to recover from his groin problem and although captain John Terry has recovered from a back injury, the Blues are without Alex, Benayoun, Daniel Sturridge and Salomon Kalou.

But boss Carlo Ancelotti laughed off suggestions he was facing a crisis in the treatment room while confirming that Lampard and Drogba would miss the trip to Villa Park.

"Frank is not available, Drogba is not available, Sturridge, Kalou, Alex, Benayoun are not available," he said.

"Frank is getting better, but he needs maybe two weeks to be 100% fit. He had a problem on his adductor and we have to pay attention to that.

"He is working individually but he needs to have another two weeks. It's getting better. It wasn't an easy injury but I'm not a doctor. We have to speak with the doctor, who can be more precise.

"Drogba had a fever this week, all week, and wasn't able to train. He started training on Friday, but he's not fit. He took antibiotics in the last few days, and will need to train next week."

Chelsea insist that MRI scans showed Benayoun had no tear in his Achilles when he left the club for an international call-up with Israel. The midfielder will travel to Finland this weekend for an operation on Monday that will rule him out for up to six months after the full extent of his injury was diagnosed by Israel's team doctor in Tel Aviv last week.

Benayoun sustained the injury in the Carling Cup defeat by Newcastle earlier this month but Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted scans showed no damage to the player's Achilles when he left England.

"We are sure that, when he left England, he did not have a tear in his tendon," said Ancelotti. "We are sure of this. He had a calf problem.

"The MRI showed this problem, but the tendon was clear. He had a problem at the start of the season with inflammation on his tendon, had treatment and came back to play for us and the national team. I don't know what happened afterwards. When he left this club to go and play for Israel, his Achilles tendon did not have a problem."

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Didier Drogba
Premier League

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