Chelsea could be down to the bare bones for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Aston Villa after Didier Drogba joined a lengthening injury list.
Drogba suffered suspected knee ligament damage in Chelsea's 0-0 Champions League draw with CFR Cluj on Wednesday night, leaving the field on a stretcher and the stadium on crutches with his right leg in a brace.
Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari was already without Deco, Joe Cole, Michael Essien and Ricardo Carvalho. Ashley Cole sat out Wednesday night's game with a sore back while John Terry (back) and Alex (buttock) both finished it in pain.
Scolari should get a clearer picture of where he stands over the next 24 hours but Chelsea do not boast an extensive squad and the potential loss of eight key players could be a major problem.
An extended lay-off for Drogba, who was making only his third start after undergoing a knee operation in the summer, would leave Nicolas Anelka as Chelsea's only fit out-and-out striker.
With Carvalho sidelined for the next fortnight, Scolari will be anxious both Terry, who was holding his back in the closing stages, and Alex recover for the weekend or Chelsea will be out of senior centre-backs.
Scolari is at least optimistic that Ashley Cole will return to face Villa, though the long-term prognosis for Drogba did not look promising.
The Ivorian appeared to jar his right knee as he stretched to reach a cross from Florent Malouda and immediately crumpled to the floor.
The only up-side of a difficult evening in Transylvania was that Chelsea left with a point and not a defeat that could so easily have befallen them.
"The result is OK given we didn't play well," said Scolari. "It was difficult for us. The players and I know that a point is OK. They beat Roma, they are confident, they're playing at home, they wanted to show to the people they are very good."
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