Chelsea optimistic over Drogba's knee surgery

December 10, 2007

LONDON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Chelsea expect Didier Drogba to be out for three weeks after the Ivory Coast striker underwent knee surgery last week.

'It looks like it will be three weeks, something like that,' manager Avram Grant told BBC radio on Monday. 'The operation went well, we just need to wait and see.'

Drogba, who scored 33 goals in all competitions for Chelsea last season, is keen to play for Ivory Coast at the African Nations Cup in Ghana which runs from Jan. 20 to Feb. 10.

He had the operation on Saturday after his knee locked in training on Friday.

Grant is confident the likes of Andriy Shevchenko and Claudio Pizarro can step in to Drogba's shoes, starting with Tuesday's Champions League match at home to Valencia and Sunday's game at Premier League leaders Arsenal.

'I have confidence in these players but I would also feel more confident if he (Drogba) came back,' said Grant. 'You know he is quality.

'He is a very important striker for us, even in the last two months he missed three games but I prefer that he is fit and playing.'