Billy Jones is facing a struggle to be back in action for West Bromwich Albion in time for the Christmas period.
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The defender has been told to expect anything up to a six-week layoff after damaging his hamstring in Saturday's 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Veteran Steven Reid is likely to return to the starting lineup against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this weekend after losing his place to Jones this season.
Jones suffered in the injury in the first half at the Hawthorns, and assistant coach Keith Downing told the Birmingham Mail: "Billy's done ever so well, but he’s pulled a hamstring.
"He's looking at a length of time out. Hamstrings tend to take anything from two to six weeks to recover from, and it is a shame for him."
Reid thought he might have to leave Albion when his contract expired last summer, but head coach Steve Clarke awarded him a 12-month extension.
He has been omitted from the matchday squad in recent weeks, but despite making only one senior appearance in the Capital One Cup in September has the full backing of Albion's management team.
"Reidy's ready to go. That's why we gave him another year on his contract," Downing said. "He's a great professional and one of the main reasons, aside from his ability, to give him another year was because he’s an influence in the dressing room."
Nicolas Anelka and Victor Anichebe will be returning to their old club at Stamford Bridge after missing the Palace win through illness and a hamstring problem respectively.
Scott Sinclair is also back in training after seven weeks out with a hamstring problem, but is unlikely to be risked on Saturday.