Gary Cahill has been ruled out of Chelsea’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The England defender missed Wednesday’s win over Steaua Bucharest and will play no part this weekend either.
Cahill has been struggling with some pain in his quadricep muscle and will not be risked as David Luiz continues alongside John Terry in central defence.
“Cahill tomorrow is not involved,” confirmed Jose Mourinho. “Is he injured? No. He is almost injured. We decided to protect him from the pain on his quadricep.”
Ashley Cole, who made his first appearance since early November in midweek, will return to the bench for the visit of Palace.
Cesar Azpilicueta will regain his left-back spot for the clash at Stamford Bridge but should not get too comfortable.
Blues boss Mourinho has promised to shuffle the pack again for Tuesday night’s League Cup quarter-final tie at Sunderland, where Cole will be reinstated.
“I need Azpilicueta to play tomorrow and I need Ashley fresh to play in Sunderland,” said Mourinho.
“I have two number ones or two number twos if you like. I trust them both. It’s good to have options.”
Chelsea’s other option on the left side of defence, Ryan Bertrand, is still one week away from a return to training after injury.
“He’s not been training with the team for two weeks,” added the Chelsea manager. “One more week perhaps [before he will return to training].