Romelu Lukaku will miss Chelsea’s Premier League trip to Leicester on Saturday and remains a long shot to return to action next week.
Boss Thomas Tuchel has refused to rush back the talismanic Belgium striker, who continues to battle an ankle problem.
Chelsea will also be without Mateo Kovacic at the King Power Stadium, though Timo Werner, Marcos Alonso and Mason Mount are all in line to feature.
Lukaku has not played since hobbling out of Chelsea’s 4-0 home win over Malmo on October 20, and remains a doubt for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Juventus.
“Romelu is very close to team training, so hopefully he will join the squad on Sunday and let’s see how this works out,” said Tuchel.
“He’s pushing hard to try to come back as soon as possible, and we will try on Sunday.
“All I can say is that at the moment we will try hard that he can join team training on Sunday.
“If everything works out perfectly and he is in team training on Sunday and then again on Monday, OK, he can maybe join the group on the bench on Tuesday. But there are a lot of ‘ifs’, and I don’t want to put pressure on him.
“He’s putting a lot of pressure on himself. We will not rush things, we will take things seriously as always, we will have lots of talks with the doctors and the physios before we make any decisions.
“If there is something to be decided it’s good, and if so, it will be decided on Monday.”
Kovacic’s last Chelsea appearance was in the Carabao Cup penalty shoot-out win over Southampton on October 26.
Tuchel admitted the Croatia midfielder continues to struggle with a hamstring issue.
Germany forward Werner should shake off a hamstring problem to feature at Leicester however, with Alonso having beaten an ankle complaint and Mount back in the mix after wisdom tooth surgery.
“Mateo needs more time before he can return to team training, so he will miss some more matches,” said Tuchel.
“Timo is in team training since yesterday, so let’s see, we have another training in two hours.
“And then we decide if it makes sense if he’s in the squad or on the bench. We’ll decide after the second training later.
“Christian Pulisic feels fine, Thiago Silva will be in the training. He has some travel in his body and some time differences, so let’s see how this works out.
“I’m confident that Mason is back in training, looking hungry, fresh and in a good spirits. But we need to evaluate. He did this week’s training sessions, looks good but we need to see if he can start, if he can play 90 minutes.”
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