ūüŹ•Tuchel provides an injury update on Reece James

Reece James’ long-awaited comeback from a thigh injury has still to be determined, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has revealed.

After injuring his hamstring in the tie with Brighton at Stamford Bridge on December 29, 2022, James has yet to play a minute of football in the Premier League in the new year.

Chelsea’s triumphant Club World Cup campaign in Abu Dhabi earlier in February had been intended to include the England international, but he was put back in his rehabilitation when he caught the flu.

Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s return to league action away to Crystal Palace on Saturday, head coach Tuchel said:

“It’s too long for all of us, we miss him a lot,” he said.

“I had the feeling from the start we had to deal with a big injury and unfortunately, my feeling was right.

“We had a setback when he caught the flu when he was close to rejoining team training. Like always, you have the risk with a physical player like Reece is with a muscle injury there is a delay.

Tuchel continued: “He’s still in individual training, progressing a lot. We’re waiting for him. The plan is for him to rejoin the group next week.”

When will he return to action?

“Once he is in the team training, that he is ready to be under a certain amount of pressure and freedom of movement.

“I don’t know (when he will return). I hope he will come back to team training next week, next step, then I can give you more.”

Tuchel’s three-at-the-back setup had James playing wide right and he had been in brilliant form until he was injured. Chelsea are still involved in three cup tournaments, therefore his comeback will come just in time for the March international break, when the England team will be announced.

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