Chelsea midfielder Jon Obi Mikel will spend at least another month on the sidelines after having surgery to sort out a knee problem which has dogged him for much of the season.
Mikel's absence was confirmed by his agent John Shittu earlier today, with the Nigerian international's representative revealing that he had the procedure earlier this week in the hope of getting back before April.
Shittu is quoted by the Daily Star as revealing: "Mikel underwent surgery three days back. He is going to be out of action for about a month, maybe five weeks."
Absence is badly timed
Mikel's prolonged absence from first-team contention could not be more poorly timed for Blues boss Jose Mourinho, who is already planning for Sunday's Capital One Cup final without midfield linchpin Nemanja Matic.
The 27-year-old is perhaps the only like-for-like defensive midfield replacement for Matic, who is banned for the next two domestic matches following his red card against Burnley.
Mikel is under-rated by many
Mourinho will definitely be disappointed not to have Mikel available this weekend, an important player that can provide the kind of defensive solidity a likely midfield pairing of Cesc Fabregas and Ramires simply can't match.
Mikel's contribution to a fine first-half of the season has largely been forgotten, but he's a useful squad option that sees his work largely go unheralded more often than not.
Chelsea would have definitely used Mikel more than once in the Premier League in 2015 if it weren't for a knee problem which is hopefully now sorted, but unless he has a strong finish to the campaign this may be his final campaign at Stamford Bridge in truth.
Chelsea fans, are you upset Mikel is missing this weekend? Would the Super Eagles star have started if anywhere near full fitness with Matic suspended? Let us know by having your say in the comment box below!
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms