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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Oct 2, 2008

Drogba could return in weeks rather than months

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is expected to face only a short spell on the sidelines following the injury he sustained against CFR Cluj.

The Ivory Coast international left the stadium of Chelsea's Champions League opponents with his right leg in a brace after last night's goalless draw.

He underwent a scan today and it is understood the results show that Drogba sustained no significant ligament damage.

If he had sustained a major ligament injury Chelsea would have been forced to cope without their first-choice frontman for several months.

However the early signs point to it being a matter of weeks rather than months before Drogba becomes available again to manager Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Drogba sustained forceful rotations to his right knee and ankle when his leg appeared to buckle as he went to make contact with a cross against the Romanians.

Chelsea are set to keep him under observation for the next two to three days before revealing precisely how long Drogba faces out of action, however there will be no need for surgery.

Chelsea could still be down to the bare bones for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Aston Villa.

Drogba is a certain absentee and Scolari was already sure to be without Deco, Joe Cole, Michael Essien and Ricardo Carvalho.

Ashley Cole sat out last night's game with a sore back while John Terry (back) and Alex (buttock) both finished it in pain.

Scolari should by now be getting a clearer picture of where he stands, but Chelsea do not boast an extensive squad and the potential loss of eight key players could be a major problem.

Last night Drogba was making only his third start since undergoing a knee operation in the summer.

In his absence, Nicolas Anelka is Chelsea's only fit out-and-out striker.

With Carvalho sidelined for the next fortnight, Scolari will be anxious both Terry, who was holding his back in the closing stages, and Alex recover for the weekend or Chelsea will be out of senior centre-halves.

Scolari is at least optimistic Ashley Cole will return to face Villa.

The only positive from a difficult evening for Chelsea was that they left with a point and not a defeat which could so easily have befallen them.

Frank Lampard was Chelsea's brightest spark but he could not unlock the determined Cluj rearguard on his own.

"The result is okay given we didn't play well,'' said Scolari.

"It was difficult for us. The players and I know that a point is okay. They beat Roma, they are confident, they're playing at home, they wanted to show to the people they are very good.

"We knew this and we prepared but we missed one or two times in front of goal. Nil-nil is not a bad result.''

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