The Football Association were yesterday playing down claims that Lampard's injury, which was suffered in training, was worse than first thought and stated that they hoped he would be ready to play for Chelsea against Wolverhampton Wanderers a week tomorrow. At worst, they hoped it would be two weeks.
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The 30 year-old is crucial to Chelsea's prospects and his loss, for potentially such a long period of time, will be a devastating blow to manager Carlo Ancelotti. With Chelsea having already qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League, Ancelotti is hoping to consolidate and build on their five-point lead ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United at the top of the league.
If the worst fears are realised, the tear to the top of Lampard's left thigh could rule him out of league games against Arsenal, Everton, Portsmouth and West Ham as well as two Champions League ties and the Carling Cup quarter-final away to Blackburn Rovers before Christmas.
It could have been a more punishing schedule and, also, Lampard, is a player who has a reputation for recovering more quickly than expected from injuries so he could also confound the fears.
Chelsea's reaction to the injury will also be interesting given Lampard was hurt in training ahead of a friendly against Brazil. The worth of the fixture against Brazil — and also with it taking place in Qatar has already been questioned by some managers, including United's Sir Alex Ferguson, although England manager Fabio Capello has been very clear that he will not risk the health of any players for this match. He has allowed a whole host of big names to pull out through injury or, in the case of David Beckham, club commitments.
Lampard now joins Steven Gerrard, Rio Ferdinand, David James, Glen Johnson, Ashley Cole, Emile Heskey, Carlton Cole in dropping out.
Chelsea hope that Ashley Cole's depressed fracture to his tibia will only keep him out for a couple of matches.
Jose Bosingwa has been ruled out, also, but for far longer. The Portuguese right-back underwent surgery on a troublesome knee injury and will be absent for three months.
Joe Cole's return from long-term injury is some compensation for Lampard's loss even if Ancelotti, like his predecessors at Chelsea, regards the midfielder as one of the team's most important performers.