Terry still weeks from first team return - Mourinho

January 11, 2007

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has claimed captain John Terry is still some weeks away from a first-team return as he attempts to recover from a back injury.

Terry's return to first-team action for Chelsea will rest on his recovery from the knock-on effect his back operation had on his calf.

Terry underwent back surgery last month but the operation meant a loss of power in his calf, which needs to be recovered before he attempts a comeback.

'The surgery was a success,' said Chelsea doctor Bryan English in the Chelsea matchday programme for the weekend clash with Wigan.

'John is doing everything pain free, he is kicking, twisting, turning, jumping.

'But he lacks a little power in his calf. The time this power takes to come back is related to the trapped nerve he had and the time it was trapped. As soon as the power comes back he can play.'

Terry has been out since the victory over Newcastle on December 13 and Chelsea's normally watertight defence have conceded 10 goals in his absence.

Chelsea played Michael Essien and Paulo Ferreira as a defensive pair against Coca-Cola League Two side Wycombe last night in the Carling Cup semi-final first leg, which ended in a 1-1 draw at Adams Park.

'I am not a doctor,' said manager Jose Mourinho after the draw. 'John is not fit to train with the group. He is not in my collective sessions yet, so he is out for the weekend.'

England skipper Terry had hoped to return to the starting line-up for Saturday's Premiership clash with Wigan as the champions aim to get back to winning ways following three successive league draws.

But after last night's disappointing 1-1 draw at Coca-Cola League Two club Wycombe in their Carling Cup semi-final first leg, Mourinho indicated that Terry would still be sidelined for some time.

'John had surgery, he is recovering from that, but he is not ready yet,' Mourinho said.

'We have a lot of problems, because Ashley Cole and Claude Makelele face suspensions, and I do not see Terry back.

'There is no timescale on John. The only thing I know for sure is that he will not play against Wigan on Saturday.

Mourinho hopes to be able to welcome back Dutch winger Arjen Robben for the visit of Paul Jewell's team, but is still without midfielder Joe Cole as well as goalkeepers Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini, while Ashley Cole misses out through suspension.

Mourinho also revealed his frustration at his limited options - but claimed he would not be strengthening his squad in the transfer window.

Asked whether he had identified players he would like to sign - but had been told they would not be arriving - Mourinho responded: 'Yes, that is the situation. I do not have to tell you the reason.

'They are club reasons. This is our situation at the moment. I hear nobody is coming in, and if nobody is coming in, nobody can leave.

'I cannot let a player go, even if he is a player I think should go, because we are very short of options and numbers.

'It is not choice - it is not my club. I am just the manager.'

Wycombe boss Paul Lambert hailed his players for keeping the tie alive, but was under no illusions about the size of the task awaiting his team at the Premiership champions.

Lambert - a Champions League winner with Borussia Dortmund in 1997 - said: 'The players were terrific.

'I thought our win at Charlton earlier in the competition was exceptional, but this exceeded it. I am as proud as anything of the players.

'This has kept the tie alive, but it will be a mammoth job for us at Stamford Bridge. It will probably be the toughest game the lads will play in their lives.'