Chelsea's Premier League title defence has received a blow with the admission from captain John Terry that he fears a long-term nerve injury in his leg could sideline him for months.
The complaint forced Terry to miss the shock 3-0 home defeat against Sunderland on Sunday, which served to underline the importance of the defender to the Blues' title defence.
A Chelsea spokesman said: "John reported for training this morning [Tuesday]. He met with club doctors and medical team and discussed plans to continue seeing various specialists to try to find a solution to the nerve problems he has been experiencing in his right leg."
Terry admitted that he was no longer able to play with the pain of the injury, which he has battled since the end of last season, and is worried he will now have to take a long-term break in order to fully recover.
"It is at a point where I cannot carry on with it,'' he told the Sun. "I used to be able to make it through games because the adrenalin gets you going and you blank the pain out. But now there is no decision to make. After games I'm in agony and not sleeping at all.''
Terry will miss England's friendly against France at Wembley on Wednesday night and is reportedly considering whether to fly out to Italy before the end of the week to find a cure.
"I'm at my wit's end,'' he added. "I know I won't play against Birmingham on Saturday but beyond that there are no clues. It could be weeks, it could be months.''
Fabio Capello has backed Terry's decision to take a break while he fully recovers from the problem.
"It is a good decision," Capello said. "I read he will be out for a long time but he has played a lot of games with an injection.
"I spoke with him a few times and asked him whether he was fit to play. You can't play with injections all the time. It is impossible."