Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has confirmed he suffered a broken finger during Chelsea's 3-2 defeat to Newcastle on Saturday, suggesting he faces a race against time to be fit for next week's Europa League tie with Sparta Prague.
Cech was ruled out of the Czech Republic's friendly against Turkey and is likely to miss this weekend's Premier League clash with Wigan due to the injury.
The 30-year-old told the Czech media that he will not rush back into the Chelsea line-up and will allow himself time to recover.
"I punched the ball and the head of one of Newcastle players at the same time," he said. "I thought it was nothing but I went for an X-ray just in case.
"However, it showed there was a fracture. The first leg in Prague will depend on whether we find a solution where it would not threaten my health and, at the same time, I would be able to perform adequately.
"If I were unable to give 100 per cent, I would not play. With the splint I have now it would not be possible."
Chelsea confirmed that Cech has returned to England for further tests on the injury, with a statement on the club's official website saying: "Petr Cech is returning to Chelsea due an injured finger and will not take part in Czech Republic's international fixture on Wednesday. The injury will be assessed at Cobham by the club's medical department.
The Blues No. 1 missed four fixtures in January with a groin problem and Rafa Benitez's side struggled in his absence - winning just one of the four games in which Ross Turnbull deputised.