Chelsea have announced that defender Ashley Cole will be out of action for approximately three months after fracturing his left ankle in Wednesday's match against Everton.
The England left-back limped off the pitch in the second half after picking up the injury in a challenge with Landon Donovan.
It means Cole faces a fight to regain his fitness in time for this summer's World Cup, with England opening their campaign in South Africa on June 12 with a match against the United States.
Cole could now miss the rest of the season with the FA Cup final just over three months away on May 15 and the Champions League final a week later.
Chelsea arguably have enough cover to compensate for Cole's loss, with Yuri Zhirkov an able replacement and Portugal defender Paulo Ferreira also capable of playing at left-back.
But the news will still be a major blow to Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, who saw his side's lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League cut to one point on Wednesday night.