Didier Drogba has vowed to return fighting fit for Chelsea - but only when he is ready.
The Ivory Coast striker, 30, has been sidelined with a knee problem which kept him out of the pre-season tour to Asia and Russia as well as the start of the new campaign.
Drogba continued his rehabilitation with a run-out for the reserves in the 3-2 win over Arsenal on Tuesday night, but maintains he will not rush back into action too soon
'I had good feelings, but it is a bit early to say I am in good shape,' Drogba told Chelsea TV.
'It is really hard because this is the first time for many years I have been out for three months and it is really difficult to come back.
'I need time, but the good thing is the club understand I need time to be fit because they know when I am fit, I will give everything for the team.'
Most of Chelsea's first-team squad are away during the international break.
However, midfielder Michael Ballack has been ruled out of Germany's forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Finland because of a bruised foot.
'The original diagnosis of the Chelsea doctor has been confirmed. It means that I will be out for at least two weeks,' he said.
The 32-year-old suffered the knock in Chelsea's opening-day victory over Portsmouth on August 17, which caused him to pull out of Germany's 2-0 friendly win over Belgium.
Ballack returned to action against Wigan, only for the injury to then flare up again.
Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari, meanwhile, must now plan for life without top transfer target Robinho after the Brazilian instead joined Manchester City in a shock £32million move on deadline day.
However, the former Portugal coach - who had already landed midfielder Deco during the summer - will look to make at least one more addition when the window re-opens in January.
'Now I know the balance of the team, what I need if I have injuries here or there. Before I didn't know very well what was happening with the players,' he said.
'In January, maybe, I'll have one more player in, or one or two leaving.'